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Commuting With Cold/Flu (Influenza) Symptoms

Levi_501Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
edited December 2014 in Commuting chat
The age old dilemma; well for few years at least.

Do you stop the commute when you have a nose like a tap, sneezing/coughing like no tomorrow, head feels solid, joints need WD40 and you are sweating like a cochino?

This year is the first time I have stopped commuting for a few days. I must say, I think I am getting over the cold/flu, whatever you want to call it, quicker.

The biggest problem I had was trying to find my lobster card!

Please no ‘helpful’ MTFU remarks :wink:

Posts

  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    yup - just on the first day or two - then once I can feel it going I get back on the bike and take it slow and easy - if it's going down to the chest then I leave it for a few more days...
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    I tend to find I feel worse after getting the Germ Tube aka bus in winter as everyone else on it is suffering some kind of cold or flu too, and will quite happily cough and splutter with reckless abandon.

    This is my first winter commuting by bike though, so I'll have to see how motivated I feel if man-flu strikes. Above all, achey bones may be the end of it for me, but as my commute takes the same time as walking to the nearest bus stop I'll probably dose up on the meds and try and power through it.

    Got a tap nose at the moment but it's not proving to be too annoying.
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  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,644 Lives Here
    Nose like a tap doesn't usually stop me. But this year I got it really bad, aching all over and a hacking cough as well. I was off the bike for nearly 2 weeks with it. I've been back on the bike for a week and a half now but still haven't quite shaken the cough. I find I get really out of breath and was wheezing at a fairly low pace, but I just can't be arsed with the traffic.
    If you can run up a flight of stairs and not die you can ride a bike at moderate pace. If you crawl up a few steps panting for breath you probably shouldn't.
  • If you have "proper flu" there's no chance of even thinking about the bike let alone riding it. With a cold, it just depends upon the severity. There's a question of whether you should be in work at all if you can't ride - after all, you're probably only going to spread the bug
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  • Had proper flu about 2 years ago. That meant in bed for four days, lost nearly a stone, and took me over a month to recover properly. I wasn't cycling very much at the time, but I remember knocking the other training I was doing on the head completely for weeks.

    A cold, I can commute, but follow the general rule of:

    Above the neck (sniffles and sore throat) I'll ride in.
    As above plus chesty cough or aches and pains - take the car.

    I used to get loads of colds and coughs, but knocking fags on the head in 2012 has (after the initial 6 weeks of grim "grey" coughing) made a massive difference.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,709
    Veronese68 wrote:
    Nose like a tap doesn't usually stop me. But this year I got it really bad, aching all over and a hacking cough as well. I was off the bike for nearly 2 weeks with it.
    no aches to speak of, but plenty of coughing. Been off the wheels for the best part of three weeks with one thing and another, so was determined to ride this morning and clear the tubes out. Was glorious in the sun, but very sedate. Tried a bit more pace to shift some sludge out of my lungs on the way home, but not sure whether that was such a good idea now. Easy does it tomorrow.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
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  • I started a similar thread earlier this autumn. Got loads of MTFU comments but not many helpful comments like here.
    I'm usually a MTFU kinda guy but when my cold is really bad I'll take the car. I've never had flu but have had colds that made me pass out, completely out like a light. One minute ok but full of cold, the next I'm face planting a coffee shop table. Must admit that week it wasn't the passing out that bothered me, although that left a bruise, it was the fever and perforated ear drum from a middle ear infection.
    About 3 to 4 weeks ago I got a cold that I rode in with. Got to work then felt really weak, nauseous and unsteady on my feet. Later on my voice went and I had to ride home. I took the car for the rest of the week after that. Recovered ok then got.back on the bike.

    My view is if your breathing isn't good then don't exercise. Blocked or running noses, coughs, sore throat, etc is not good enough reason to stop cycling unless you want to. If it's blocking up to your ears or you get pain in your ears when you blow your nose then take a break. The eustachian tubes that equalize the pressure in your middle ear can become blocked or not working. Your middle ear can get infected. That infection leads to your body fighting infection by creating effectively a pus inside your ear. Pressure builds with bad pain until there's a pop when your eardrum perforates. Then you have ear shot, no pain but potentially surgery needed to repair. That is why anything to do with ears means I take a break from exercise.

    Basically you have to work out how a cold affects you and decide when it's passed the level that you can continue. At that point I tend to think you shouldn't be going in to work anyway. If you are ok for work you are probably ok for a shortish commute by bike.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    well everyones different,but the thing you want to avoid is turning a head cold into a chest infection,and the quickest way of going from head cold to chest infection, is doing heavy forms of exercise when you cant breathe properly, so Im sure if you did light rides youd probably be ok, but anything more challenging Id avoid.

    I know for myself, sniffles Im probably ok to commute, but anything more that starts turning into a sore throat/cough,Im off the bike straight away, because I know Ive far greater chance of ending up with a chest infection, and that potentially can wipe me out for more than a week, and are frankly hideous to get rid of.

    if its proper flu, you wont even be able to move, let alone consider going for a bike ride, so its not really a consideration.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    If I'm well enough to be at work, I'm well enough to do the 6.7 miles at a steady pace, if I'm not well enough to do that I shouldn't be at work - simple.

    A survey about 3 years ago 'suggested' that if everyone stayed the hell away from work when they had a bad cold, rather than coming in and spreading it about, the country would lose less time off work a year as a result.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,644 Lives Here
    WTFD* today and drove the old Mini in. I'm bunking off early today so traffic going home shouldn't be a problem. It was probably colder in the car than riding. Not generating much heat of my own, heater is useless and I had to have the window open to stop the screen misting up. I even had to scrape ice off the inside of the windows.

    * wimped down that is
  • Levi_501Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
    Thanks for your input guys. I am taking the tube this week in part due to the cold/flu stuff and also because of the research in to the colourless volatile flammable liquid that I have to do this week.

    Two things have been noted during my cold/flu research this last few days; first I have recovered much much quicker by not cycling, secondly the envious thoughts of 'God I wish I was on my bike' as I watched several cyclist whoosh past the bus stop this morning!
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,709
    Felt much better this morning, so rode in again. And again the ride home was a real slog. May try ride-in-PT-home tomorrow.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    When I get ill I use a heart rate monitor and keep the BPMs low (under 140 BPM works for me) and allow extra time and use a flatter route than normal.

    If it was actual flu, not just a bad cold I'd be too ill to ride.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • DJFishDJFish Posts: 49
    awavey wrote:
    well everyones different,but the thing you want to avoid is turning a head cold into a chest infection,and the quickest way of going from head cold to chest infection, is doing heavy forms of exercise when you cant breathe properly, so Im sure if you did light rides youd probably be ok, but anything more challenging Id avoid.

    This.
    Our household is currently a temple of mucus, last night I got a call that the youngest (19mths) had a temp of 40 degrees and might be making her third visit to hospital in as many weeks, so I didn't hang about getting home.
    Once I got home (to find her bouncing around like a loon) I was wheezing like a pensioner and spent the rest of the night struggling to breathe.

    Horrid time of the year to be cycling to work.
  • Cycled in this morning despite feeling rather ropey this morning (out of the blue), which was possibly one of the toughest rides I've had - dragged myself to my desk, aching all over and head fuzzy... plus the weather forecast looks rather grim for the ride home! So thank god I've managed to get a lift home (bike and all).

    I'm 46 weeks into my no driving to work challenge... and am absolutely determined not to drive in tomorrow!
  • First day I've missed in ages today. I just had nothing except mucus and a rattle snake in my lungs.
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  • nichnich Posts: 888
    I don't seem to get traditional style colds anymore (blocked nose 'n sneezing) - just tend to get horrible aches :/

    I've had these a few times this year - each time I've tried to cycle I've felt horrible so gone back home :)
  • They say two thirds of all colds, flu and similar viruses are spread by toddlers. Got one in our house so that means I've had what feels like a continuous cold from November. It just kept coming back. The tail of the cold, then the full cold comes back attacking me in a slightly different way before tailing away then back again. I've been mixing cycle in with driving in as I felt in the morning. Played it by ear but in the past I never let a cold stop me. Used to think my mate was a grade 1 wimp when he would back out of a full day in the Lakes hills because he had a cold early that week and had only just got over it. I used ride, walk, climb and kayak with horrendous colds even in the depths of winter. Now I'm very much cautious since this year has really been full of colds.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    The Rookie wrote:
    Try having a wife that works with primary school aged children.......
    Mrs Ini works at a university, we always end up with Fresher's Flu when autumn term starts.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
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