Probably Negative

I helped my Mom clean out the garage today, and by dinnertime I could barely breathe. Why do I keep forgetting I’m allergic to dust? So anyway, I got a sore throat (on the left side), laboured breathing, and my left eye turned red. I’m guessing it’s all probably just dust allergy, but…

(… and here’s where you get to shake your head at me…)

I remembered that there used to be mice in the garage at one point. Long, long ago, apparently, and they’re gone all. But you know, I immediately started thinking, Gee, I could have been exposed to hantavirus. After all, it’s something that exists in the mice droppings, and is airbnorne, aerosolized by being kicked up into the air by, say, things like sweeping.

And you know, I guess I could have exposed to it, actually, though there’s really only been 6 recorded cases in Saskatchewan so it’s unlikely.

Nitric Oxide therapy, I’m remembering that. That, and the fact that the Asian form and the North American form differ, though at least the Asian form is known in Korea, according to the same page that discussed the Nitric Oxide therapy. It never struck me how bad it could be to have an illness localized to one place while finding oneself in another place. Or that sweeping out a garage could mess me up that much.

But it’s probably just bad asthma and dust allergy, period, and I’ll believe that unless some mysterious flu kicks in sometime in the next few weeks. After all, my sisters and brother-in-law and Dad once cleaned out the garage, sort-of, and they never got hantavirus, and that was after all the mice died. And only something like 1% of deer mice in Saskatchewan have hantavirus anyway.

The big lesson, though, well, wait… there are a couple.

1. Don’t do work that’s likely to make you sick. I know I’m allergic to dust, so it was stupid to enter a space where dust was being kicked up by sweeping, even if I did wear a filter mask. It’s nice to want to help but I still am breathing like an old man, hours later. Though, yay, my left ear just popped and my sinuses are no longer stuffed.

2. Don’t research illnesses online until after you’ve been diagnosed, unless you REALLY know what you might have. Shots in the dark will only terrify you, and it’s only borrowing trouble. Whereas talking to a trained physician is a good idea. Lime once diagnosed what used to be wrong with my fingernails and toenails with only one simple question, because she knows what she’s talking about… at least to some degree.

3. Not cleaning out garages whilst in a country you’re not currently residing in is probably a good idea for several reasons. And don’t sweep out garages where mice have been found in the past, if you can help it.

4. Worrying helps nothing at all. Even if you’re inclined to worry naturally, the worrying won’t do anything.

5. Despite all the above, diseases like this are nonetheless real, and anyone could die from them. People do.

UPDATE: Sometime the next morning, I’m feeling relatively fine, though the sore throat’s still hanging on…

4 thoughts on “Probably Negative

  1. I helped my own mom in cleaning out her garage about 10 years ago and both of us felt sick afterwards. She mentioned hantavirus a couple of months later. :P (It was in a part of the country I was no longer accustomed to being in — not quite as bad as being on a different continent, but still not ideal. And I lived (still do) closer to actual hantavirus territory than she did, I think.)

    I got a helluva sore throat when I helped pack up the stuff for her move out of that house. I lost my voice for about 30 hours at one point. It sucked.

    My advice: If you’re going to do any more, wear a mask, take antihistimine, and be very, very nice to your throat in any other way you can.

  2. Yeah, we finished with cleaning out the garage. My throat REALLY hurt and I’m still not breathing normally, but mostly I’m back to normal.

    Sad thing is, I WAS wearing a mask and I even used my ventolin inhaler… a lot! I am in general being nice to my throat, and to my lungs, too… linger in hot showers breathing the steam as deeply as I can, and so on.

    Funnily enough, I remember you telling stories about that garage-cleaning… I think it was a major life-event for you! This, happily, is more of an episode for me.

    I really can’t believe all my compositions weren’t lost. That means all that was lost was a box of books, my complete OED (the funky 2-volumes with a magnifying glass edition), my fairly big White Wolf RPG collection, and a couple of boxes of LPs. Not bad as far as losses go. Too bad I found out too late to get any insurance on it. But I got all my compositions back!

  3. I spent an idyllic afternoon at a vineyard in eastern Washington a couple of years ago. The soil was so fine it got everywhere. So, you know, I traipsed amongst the grapes and picked apricots and did other vineyard things, probably little dances.

    Then I was lying down on the grass and along came this incredibly cute little deer mouse (little head, big ears) which was at the time the big hantavirus carrier in that part of the state. It was still an idyllic afternoon, but I felt like the dust that was all over me was actually mouse crap and I had to work hard not to talk about hantavirus non-stop on the ride home.

    There had just been a series of articles in the paper about the horrors of hantavirus and two kids in New Mexico had just died horribly from it.

    It’s hard to get that stuff out of your head — so, I sympathize, is what I’m saying!


  4. Little dances! Of course! Ha!

    (I love when writers make comments on blogs. You get all kinds of wonderful stuff thrown away like that. Anyway…)

    I totally hear you on the not-getting-it-out-of-one’s-mind-easily thing. It’s very hard to forget the awful potential, no matter how slim the chance actually is. Ugh!

    BTW: apricots grow in vinyards?
    PSBTW: aha, rat polish contains some kind of mutant hantavirus strain, is that it? I’m starting to make sense of it all…

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