Forty-eight hours ago, on Saturday morning, 52º suddenly began to feel very cold to me. Half an hour later I crawled into bed, wracked with GI distress and general malaise, and except for a few misguided efforts to get vertical, stayed there all weekend. I was prescient enough to bring a bucket with me. Yesterday J. kindly brought me ginger ale and saltines. Finally this morning I am back to the living. It was no fun, but with alternating sweats and chills I found a 50º bedroom with the electric blankie to be a good strategy that allowed for great flexibility in maintaining some level of comfort.
A lot of people ask whether we are worried that having a coldish house will make us sick more often. There is long-standing debate on this question. Here’s a bit from the New York Times— from 1903:
“Writers on hygiene have found a congenial theme for more or less intemperate denunciation in the fact that as a community we have accustomed ourselves to house temperatures so excessive as to predispose us to grave evils of one kind or another, especially colds, catarrh, pneumonia, and the like.” (full text here).
Overall I don’t think we’re any more predisposed to illness. Possibly less so, especially with regard to respiratory infections, which can more easily take hold when nasal membranes are desiccated from the low humidity of super-heated winter air. As far this stomach bug, I can identify at least four people I might’ve caught it from, and none of them live here– so staying home in the cold house altogether probably would’ve protected me!