View Full Version : Battling a Cold or Flu

12-23-2003, 12:28
I've been sitting around the past few days suffering from flu symptoms---headache, chills, congestion, exhaustion, etc.

Thankfully, I am able to battle this thing from the comfort of my own home. I started thinking about how miserable it would be to suffer from the flu while hiking the trail.

Does anyone have any stories about becoming sick while out on the trail? After all, misery loves company.

Blue Jay
12-23-2003, 14:45
The trail is by far the best place to have a cold (if you have to have one). You can stay away from others to avoid infecting them. You can blow your nose every 5 seconds without a kleenex. By hiking fast you give yourself a long term artificial fever and you are over it quicker. You can sleep all day if you want.

12-23-2003, 14:49
Or hang out in a cheap sleazebag hotel for 4 days blowing your nose and watching rain pound the parking lot.

Sleepy the Arab
12-27-2003, 20:43
I came down with two colds during my 2001 thru, the first in NOC (and I hiked out anyway) and the second around the Atkins-Bland area. The first became an ear infection, requiring a trip to Robbinsville (courtesy of Jeff & Nancy Hoch of the Hike Inn), an expensive doctors visit (hint: don't get sick near Robbinsville), and a sackload of meds that made the trek through the Smokies a drudgery. 167 miles in and I was averaging $5 per mile...

The second cold became a sinus infection, requiring another doctors visit in Pearisburg (hint: get sick near Pearisburg). Again, I received help from a hostel guy: Bill of the Holy Family Hospice. In spite of the fact that I had walked 40 some odd miles with this cold, he insisted that he drive me to the clinic, and then ordered me to call his house for the return trip.

I don't quite know what I would have done without Jeff, Nancy, and Bill. Fontana in particular is barren of services like that.

01-30-2004, 01:19
Besides the Erwin (damascus) and New Hampshire Flu of 2k3?

Coming out of the Smokies, after some of the worst weather I had been in on the trail, my throat started hurting, and it felt like it was swelling. I hiked like that for a few days, until I got to a hostel to look at it, and saw that it was half swollen shut!

It sucked, because by the time I got into town to get it checked out, my throat had virtually swollen. I had trouble breathing, could barely drink anything, and worst of all...I couldn't eat! The day I went to the doc's office, I couldn't even talk. I had to walk around town with my journal and pen, asking for directions, and explaining to the doctor what was wrong.

It turns out I had strep throat. I got a penicillin shot in the ass, had to quarantine myself, and couldn't eat solid foods for 3 days. At its worst, all I could do was squeeze a couple of swallows of water, juice or tea down my throat every couple of hours.

But, I got better, didn't pass it on to anyone, and it gave everyone else I was hiking with an excuse to stick around town long enough to find a ride to trail days!

01-30-2004, 08:11
In 2000, I got some kind of 24hr virus with all of the typical ailments that come along with it...fever, nausea, etc. Fortunately, we made it to a shelter so at least there was a privy. Unfortunately, the anti-nausea medication (Phenergan) didn't seem to do anything, so it just "ran its course." Up all night, slept 'til mid-afternoon the next day. We passed up several offers early in the day to help us get down to the next town, but eventually, we accepted. I was pretty dehydrated and weak with nothing in my system (pepperoni and pop-tarts aren't very appealing when sick). Another thru-hiker (Tin Cup) was slackpacking through the area and offered to take my pack...Profile had already put as much as he could in his pack. We had even put a few things in Sarah's pack (our dog)...which is the ONLY time she ever carried anything other than her food, leash and toy. Anyway, we hiked the 4 miles (luckily all downhill) into Bennington, VT, where Tin Cup's wife was picking him up. We got a lift into town, where we stayed for 3 nights...because I passed it on to Profile. At least he had the comfort of a bed and clean bathroom!


01-30-2004, 12:09
Carry ginger with you the next time you do a long-distance hike.

You can cut up tiny slivers and make a tea when you feel nauseated. It works very well to curb an upset stomach.

Miso soup is great for colds and flus, also, and you can usually find dried packets at the grocery stores.

Kyle & Lisa
01-30-2004, 12:37
I like the ginger and Meso idea. My brother who is a doctor gave me Zithromax to carry with me for this occasion. Zithromax is a 5-day antibiotic--see if your doctor will give you some for the kit.