Friday, July 18, 2008

Upper Respiratory Infectious Agent In Illinois

For most of the month of June, 2008 I worried that I had lung cancer. Although I knew that several coworkers had similar symptoms I had never before been visited with such a persistent low key respiratory infection during a summer month.

The seemingly non-stop rains which have visited Central Illinois this year have made this summer the wettest on record in over one hundred years.

Combine the soggy humid air with the fact that Illinois is one of the moldiest states in the United States and something has got to give.

I would often find myself drinking a half gallon of tea (decaf please) in the morning, and another half gallon in the afternoon just to get through the day without coughing uncontrollably.

And of course I found the whole experience of grabbing for a bag six month old cough drops rather dispiriting. Was this not Summer?

My only comfort came from knowing that others were experiencing this low key respiratory infection too. Some seem struck a bit worse than others, and most people were not affected at all.

Finally after more than a month of shortness of breath, upcoming phlegm, quick triggered coughing fits, and a strange burning in my lungs - it has gone away.

I had almost forgotten about it when today I spoke with a young woman who had been fighting this evil nasty infection. I made sure that she knew that she was not alone, and that no she didn't have some incurable form of lung cancer.

I often wonder how many of these quiet infections pass through our population - never being officially reported. I wonder about the changes such diseases make to our tissues, to our cells, to our bodies - with no government body even attempting to track what could easily be a form of germ warfare, or perhaps an accident at a lab somewhere.

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