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Mr. Pastirik's Daily Log 25 November 2005

November 25, 2005

After breakfast this morning, I walked to the Kiwi station (a bit over three miles roundtrip) with my camera. I continue to walk, stretch, and do sit-ups. It is so easy to slip into not taking care of oneself. I am determined to not let this happen. Eating healthy too!

Then, I went to McMurdo Community Hospital and got a flu shot. Flu season runs from about November through March, although the season does vary. Influenza “Flu” is caused by a virus, and as such is not treated with antibiotics. It is transmitted through the air by coughing and sneezing, or by touch. Annually, about 5-20% of the U.S. population becomes infected with flu, 200,000 are hospitalized, and 36,000 die as a result of it. The flu virus is actually not one virus, but a series of strains designated, easily enough, A, B, and C. Each strain changes over time, so the vaccine mix needs to be updated annually, and people need to receive updated vaccines to maximize protection. The vaccines come in two forms. They are the “flu shot” which contains dead viruses, and the nasal-spray virus which is formulated from attenuated or weakened viruses. Each has recommendations and restrictions as to use. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) has an excellent website to increase your knowledge about flu and other health issues. It is I recommend it highly, and keep it as one of my favorites. In a world filled with sketchy reporting about potentially catastrophic diseases, CDC’s site is easily accessible, easy to read, and informative.

“Crud” signs are constant reminders here. Crud is any communicable disease. Hand washing stations abound and hand sanitizer are plentiful. For example, when one cuts bread, it is important to not directly touch the bread, but to use a cloth. Everyone covers their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing. Second helpings of food are always gotten using a new plate. The truth is I have heard much less sneezing and coughing than I anticipated. Even injuries, regardless of how minor, are taken seriously; scrubbed, disinfected, and covered. So, I guess parents and elementary school teachers were correct when they taught you the rules of hygiene.

I volunteered in the greenhouse today. I planted seeds for tomatoes, lettuce and other things. Then, I took the small germinated lettuce plants to their hydroponics’ growing station. In five weeks, these will be ready to eat in the galley. It is a good image for me.

No flights today. The team today is working on concerns/problems. It seems so difficult to fly sensitive instruments, in Antarctica, under time/money constraints, and measuring such tiny amounts of chemicals.

There is a seventeen hour difference between Atlanta, and McMurdo. Today is Friday, your Thursday (Thanksgiving, 2005). We will celebrate it tomorrow, Saturday. The majority of workers at McMurdo will then get a two day break for work (usual work week is six days).

Take care of one another. mp