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How to Survive the Flu Apocalypse in Cape Town
If you’ve succumbed to the shakes and aches, here are ten ways to survive…
Last Updated: 26 May 2017
I’m not going to kid around – this winter has been a nightmare for me. My appendix failed and it turns out I have the immune system of a half-dead squirrel as I keep getting the dreaded influenza. I’m not talking about a snivelling little head cold here either – I’m talking full on body aches, spiking temperatures, a nose like Victoria Falls and continuous headaches and shivers. I should make a disclaimer now that I am no doctor by any stretch of the imagination, but here are a few of the cures I’ve tried and tested over the last little while.
1. Get a flu shot, you fool: This is what present Sam is now telling past Sam. I feel this bout of influenza-induced self-pity could all have been avoided if silly me had simply decided to get a tiny prick of an injection when winter began. I do have a very serious aversion to needles, but I’m beginning to think I must just get over it and suffer through it for the greater good. Every year, the flu strain is different (so I’m told), so it’s important to get the latest shot for it to be effective against the current epidemic.
2. Cut off the codeine: I have become rather reliant on my codeine fix; I now need Myprodol like a fat kid needs cake. But I’ve gone cold turkey for the last few days – Myprodol is a pretty strong drug and it was the only thing that brought my temperature down, but now, alas, I don’t need it any more.
3. Infect everyone you know so you can be miserable together: Imagine me saying this in grumpy cat meme format. I’ve found it rather comforting to be the cause of an epidemic. I’ve infected my boyfriend, my family and possibly my colleagues and friends – and it’s been a joy to be sad and grumpy together. Misery loves company after all! I’m totally kidding – I feel TERRIBLE about making other people ill. Flu is very contagious so wash your hands continuously and do not cough on anyone or anything. And if you are sick, stay home. When work sees the condition you’re in, they’ll send you home anyway under the pretence of being nice but actually because you’re a walking biohazard.
4. Stay in bed and catch up on ALL the Masterchef: This is your excuse to stay in bed and do nothing except watch bad reality TV. Seriously – flu comes with prescribed bed rest so you may as well take advantage of it and watch everything you can get your feverish, sweaty little hands on.
5. If you’re going out, dress warmly: This is a rather obvious point but an important one. Pile on the clothes and don’t be ashamed to wear your bear-shaped dressing gown outdoors. When everyone sees your fluffy bear ears in public, they’re bound to be super-jealous. Also, if you are leaving the house, perhaps consider one of those surgical face masks they wear a lot in Asia – you can always draw a smile on it to make it less creepy.
6. Make a hot toddy: Lemon, whisky (leave this out if you’re taking Myprodol or other meds, obviously), honey and hot water. Mix together and add finely chopped ginger. Drink while hot. Add a Med-Lemon to it if you are leaving out the whisky.
7. Buy yourself nice things – you deserve it: As my temperature spiked, so did my online retail therapy. We have lots of really lovely things for sale online in this city – so go ahead and get those Famke earrings and the tropical pineapple-shaped pen pot from Superbalist; these are all vital to your recovery process.
8. Eat tasty things chockfull of vitamins: My appetite disappeared which was great for the waistline, but I still had to find things I didn’t mind eating. Treat yourself and go out if you’re feeling up to it. There are plenty of warm and toasty restaurants with fireplaces in our pretty city so make one of those your first stop. You could also get someone to whip up this broccoli and peanut soup for you – it’s packed with flu-fighting goodness and it’s delicious as well.
9. Take a multivitamin: Apparently this is a very good idea according to my mother. She also recommends freshly squeezed juices daily, and Omega Three oils. I have yet to let her make me a fish oil smoothie, but hey – each to their own. If you can, I do recommend going home to your mum. Despite the fish oil, she’ll be your number one nurse and get-well cheerleader (and she’s probably the only one who’ll put up with you in your sniffly state).
10. Get some good books: You’re going to be bed-bound for a while so you may as well get some decent reading material to make the time pass a bit faster. If you haven’t read anything by South African born author Lauren Beukes, you should. Also, add Jonny Steinberg to your list, along with Nadine Gordimer, Zakes Mda, Andre Brink, Sarah Lotz and Imran Coovadia.
I am now on the road to recovery – still admittedly a bit snotty, but mostly better. I’m back at work and putting on a brave face, with a roll of toilet paper and lots of cough medicine on my desk to inspire sympathy from soft-hearted colleagues (it’s working – Charlotte brought me a notebook and Cadbury’s Mini Roll last week!). There isn’t really a fixed cure for influenza, so if you are feeling rubbish, a trip to the doctor is always a good idea.
By Samantha Corbett
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