Exposed to adenovirus, any way to prevent illness?
January 31, 2018 4:42 PM   Subscribe

I've just learned that the relative my partner and I spent last weekend with was "getting over" the adenovirus. As far as I can tell from the internet and her emails, she was definitely still in the contagious period. Her adult daughter, who we didn't see, apparently caught it from her, and is in the very acute phase.

She was coughing a lot, her eyes were red and swollen, we did hug, then eat, hug more, eat more - all those things the CDC says to stay away from. So I'm not holding out much hope that we weren't exposed to it. But we're on vacation for the next few weeks, and would both really like to not spend it being sick. So I am wondering if there's anything we can do to prevent actually coming down with it ourselves, or at least to limit how hard it hits us, if it does.

I do realize that exposure doesn't mean that either of us will catch anything, but if there's anything we can do to minimize the risk that we will, we'd be all over it.

posted by still_wears_a_hat to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
If I were you I'd spend the next couple days drinking a ton of water, taking some vitamins, eating very healthy meals full of plants (and lean meat if you roll that way... steak on a big salad?), staying warmly dressed, and sleeping as many extra hours as you can.

Also wash / wipe down / disinfect any items that might have gotten viruses on them- your keys, phone, wallet, steering wheel, gear shift, car & home doorknobs, the sweater you wore at her place, anything she gave you.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:05 PM on January 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

All good tips, but also just wash your hands regularly and avoid touching you and your partners' faces so that if you miss something you are at less risk of it getting in your body rather than just on it. And try not to stress. Getting worked up really does a number on your immune system.

Vitamin C loading helps me sometimes, so lots of OJ certainly can't hurt. Also there are some mushroom supplements that someone I know swears by. He was actually sick a couple of days last week just as he began taking them again, which wouldn't be much of a testimonial, but the person he caught it from was sick in bed for 5 days straight while he was over it in two or three.

Still, I don't vouch for it, it seems like woo to me, but in this case it clearly didn't make anything worse and may have made things better so it doesn't hurt to try as long as you don't have allergies or sensitivity to common herbal supplements since they are basically all full of unlabeled stuff.

I still think it's all woo, but it clearly doesn't hurt.
posted by wierdo at 5:29 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is totally woo with nothing to back it up, but someone I know swears that cayenne pepper can halt the effects of a virus if you take it before the symptoms get bad. If you’re desperate enough to try this, health food stores sell capsules.
posted by FencingGal at 5:40 PM on January 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Cayenne pepper (like ginger and other "hot" spices) works by making your eyes water and your nose run, flushing out your mucous membranes. So: ginger infusion or spicy foods might possibly have some preventive effect in the early stages.

(Ginger infusion: Boil chunks of ginger root in water; pour water into a mug; add honey and lemon juice if desired. Singer's remedy. Ginger root chunks are usually good for more than one boiling.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:03 PM on January 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

I feel like most homegrown cold remedies lie somewhere between useless but a good way to get electrolytes or hydration in you to potentially useful but still just hydrating or adding electrolytes (cayenne pepper with lemon drink, anything vitamin c heavy, etc). I like herbal teas and soups (because I like herbal teas and soups anyways, and the good herbal tea is expensive).

Get enough rest, make sure that you clean your hands and keep your hands off your face/mouth/eyes, make sure that gross stuff you touch all the time (doorknobs, keyboard, fidget spinner) are disinfected on the regular, drink PLENTY of healthy liquids, eat well, and don't stress out about it - you're pretty close to being in the clear. I have also employed effectively very silly ideas like cold showers, repeated sets of pushups, apple cider vinegar, lots of raw garlic, until I was in the clear or recovered from my cold (of course you will either recover eventually after repeating these things or die, so take that with a big ol grain of salt-that said, low effort for all and you may find the old wive's tale that works wonders for you).

I always sanitize my toothbrush between uses when I feel I might be coming down with something, or toss if it's old, and avoid blowing my nose until the last possible moment to prevent any membrane tears that encourage infection. Nothing irks me more than someone with baby sniffles going to town honking their horn - those are delicate membranes! No need to tear them up to rid thyself of what gravity will happily make into a runny nose or post-nasal drip...

Oh, and if you are a chapstick or makeup person - sanitize or toss anything you've been using.
posted by love2potato at 6:39 PM on January 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

Minimize sugar intake but get some raw garlic and honey (mash the garlic and mix it with honey. Best if you can get raw honey, of course.)

Oh,and saline nasal spray.

This helps keep me well, fwiw.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:26 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." I'm a huge proponent of this. Preventative care I feel is where you can do the best work for your immune system. I tend to eat a lot of veggie-rich soups I make myself, so I can control what is actually going into my body. I avoid sugar and other simple carbs (like breads, muffins, etc.). Sometimes when I know I'll be around sick people, I'll also take some echinacea as insurance. It could be purely luck, but I very rarely get sick. Maybe once every 3 years.

Eat nutritious things, wash your hands (and avoid touching your face/eyes), and maybe some echinacea. ;)
posted by pdxhiker at 9:19 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Aside from eating well, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest (along with good hand hygiene and perhaps a mask while directly exposed to someone who is known sick with an upper respiratory virus) there's literally nothing you can do. The home remedies above mostly don't have any particular useful evidence behind them.

Embrace your powerlessness and don't worry. If it makes you feel any better, there are uncounted billions of respiratory virus particles on and in virtually everything you touch in public places this time of year, and you mostly don't get sick. Your immune system has well over a billion-year track record of not allowing you and your ancestors to be eaten alive from the inside, and it's pretty amazing.
posted by killdevil at 9:39 PM on January 31, 2018 [5 favorites]

Yes, garlic. Eat as much raw garlic as you can, and drink water of course.
posted by zinful at 12:31 AM on February 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

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