Under pressure
December 11, 2006 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I think I have the flu. Should I stay in bed or run 5K?
posted by four panels to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
Depends on whether or not you consider your risk for pneumonia acceptable.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:49 PM on December 11, 2006

Either you don't really have the flu (symptoms include wanting to die), or you have a death wish.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 4:08 PM on December 11, 2006

If you're wondering whether it's really the flu or just allergies or whatever, this chart might help.
posted by LeisureGuy at 4:25 PM on December 11, 2006

If you're young and healthy, running the 5k will set you back a little in the recovery time from the flu, but won't kill you. Depends how important the run is to you (assuming you're talking about a race, and not just your daily run -- which you should not do at all when you're sick).
posted by knave at 4:27 PM on December 11, 2006

I'm with wildeepdotorg. You figure out if you have the flu using the five pound note test (or note of equivalent value in your native currency). Someone puts a five pound note on a table near your bed. If you get out of bed to take the money you've not got the flu.
posted by edd at 4:27 PM on December 11, 2006 [3 favorites]

When I ran cross country in high school, I was HARDCORE and didn't miss a practice or race all four years regardless of being sick or injured. That includes running a 5k with the flu. I finished dead last in the race and couldn't breath by the end- and I'm not talking about the, "Damnnnnn, I'm tired lack of breath." I'm talking about, "Shittttt, I really can't breath. Is this what an asthma attack feels like?"

As evident by my attempt to make it on the Darwin Award list, you can live through it and have a, "I'm a dumbass and lived!" story to go with it. Then again, I also have a bum knee disallowing me from hiking anymore due to not listening to my body.
posted by jmd82 at 4:33 PM on December 11, 2006

All good arguments here for the risk you run to your own health, so I would just point out that you should think of your fellow runners as well. Entering the race when you're sick means you are knowingly increasing the chances of spreading the virus to a larger pool of people than you otherwise would if you stayed home.
posted by scody at 4:38 PM on December 11, 2006

When you have the flu you have all over muscle aches and are weaker than normal. This includes your heart, even if you can't feel it. Stressing a muscle that's already stressed is a bad idea. Here's WebMD's take on it.
posted by hindmost at 4:47 PM on December 11, 2006

If you make it, you'll have a good story to tell.
posted by lilithim at 5:10 PM on December 11, 2006

What's the worse that can happen? On preview after reading jmd82, the answer to that question would tip the balance for staying in bed.
posted by reformedjerk at 5:13 PM on December 11, 2006

I had the flu but was stupid enough to still be running around in school, trying to get a million things done. Got admitted to hospital for a few days on suspicion of malaria (really just exhaustion).

so be careful.
posted by divabat at 5:19 PM on December 11, 2006

The last time I had the real, honest to God flu, my doctor described it as "the feeling that you've been hit by a semi truck and you wish it would come back and finish the job."

If you've got an unpleasant 72-hour bug (the sort of piddling illness people often call "the flu" because they've never actually had the flu) and you feel like you can run a 5k, it's maybe not a great idea, but it probably won't kill you. If you're coming down with the actual flu, you're about to feel that blinking your eyes is a massive exertion; running any distance is a very bad idea. Prepare to take 800 milligrams of ibuprofen and drink a liter of tea (assuming you have the strength to dunk the tea bag).
posted by mostlymartha at 5:27 PM on December 11, 2006

Best answer: Cold - run 5k
Flu - run 5 movies through your bedroom dvd player
posted by caddis at 6:09 PM on December 11, 2006

The last time I had the flu I lost 15lbs in a week because I couldn't even eat. I spent days not able to get off the couch.

Flu .NE. cold
posted by unSane at 8:17 PM on December 11, 2006

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