I have been sick three times since I moved to Calgary. I’m currently dealing with the most recent bout, a runny-nosed, soar-throated annoyance. On Saturday I thought going for a run would do me some good. It was a sunshiny day and I had a brand new pair of shoes and a new route I was dying to try. I had purchased the shoes earlier that week (turns out I overpronate, which explains my ankle injury last fall) and had not yet had a chance to use them. The sunlight and fresh air did do me good…while I was running. Saturday night was absolutely unbearable and I’ve been paying the price for that run ever since.
All this has me thinking. I’m not a person who gets sick often. Three times in less than a year is a lot for me. I didn’t get the flu shot this year because Chris told me They guessed poorly on which strains to include. Plus, since I’m not going to work every day, I’m avoiding my most common source of illness – the jackass who goes to work with a raging flu. However, I don’t believe I’ve gotten the flu. This is something else. Something less severe, yes, but three times?! I’ve heard it said that moving to a new city can make you more susceptible to illness. This week I did some internet digging and, bad news, Calgary is making me ill!
I cobbled together information from discussion boards, blogs and one published article, all of which seem to support my anecdotal evidence that this move is particularly hard on my immune system. There are the obvious factors – exposure to different weather, people, viruses and bacteria than I had in Boise. This article highlights some other possible explanations. Maybe I’m allergic to Calgary or maybe moving stress has weakened my body’s defenses. Additionally, drier climates are hard on the mucus membranes, making them easier to infiltrate. Calgary has the driest air of any place I’ve lived since I moved away from Southern Utah in 2002. This research found a link between urbanization and tuberculosis resistance. Obviously, I didn’t read the whole article, because boring, but here’s a highlight from the abstract: “Our results therefore support the interpretation that infectious disease loads became an increasingly important cause of human mortality after the advent of urbanization, highlighting the importance of population density in determining human health and the genetic structure of human populations.” Aha, I knew it!
Taking this all in, it’s clear what I need to do – pamper myself (massage time! No more shoveling snow!), moisturize my mucus membranes (a humidifier would do the trick), and avoid densely populated areas…? Okay, I’m not sure how that last one’s going to work out. Do any of you have hot tips on how to stay healthy after a move?
PS This hot chocolate is my most favoritest breakfast food, now that I’m sick. I know what you’re thinking – I eat so healthy, how did I even get sick in the first place?