The joy of a Summer flu–or whatever disease this is

I was looking forward to the Summer so much. Having a post-comps break, and then working on my thesis while enjoying the Summer on the island of Montreal: The festivals, the Paddle Mac, the many tourist attractions. Maybe also going swimming, or doing some one-day solo trips to Quebec City or Ottawa, or to some hidden gem here in Quebec. I didn’t have real plans, but I did have expectations. What I didn’t expect was the flu that hit me in the last weeks and that I am finally–hopefully–recovering from. I don’t really know how I got it, but certainly the weather we are having this Summer, generally hot with sudden storms that can catch you when you’re having a walk, didn’t help.

Getting the flu in the Summer is so weird. You have to keep yourself warm, because you don’t want it to get worse and perhaps you have the chills, but in the same time you have to keep yourself fresh, because the weather is so hot, and sweating too much would  probably worsen your flu as well. There is no such thing as warmer and fresher in the same time, unless you put your head in the oven and your feet in the freezer, like an old joke about statisticians* suggests. But doing this is unlikely to help you feel better, anyway. Basically, you’re trapped, looking for a bearable temperature you are unikely to reach anytime soon. You almost wish it were Winter: Winter flu is bad, of course, but at least you know what to do: Keeping yourself warm, warm and warm again, without any counterorder. Also, Winter flu is reassuring: It might be something else, but chances are it’s real flu–or, if you are lucky, just a simple cold. But it turns out, this might not be the case if you get flu-like symptoms in the Summer. Indeed, while I was casually googling “Summer flu”, I found several pages explaining that getting a flu in the Summer is possible, but unlikely, and thus if you have flu-like symptoms it’s probably something else. Whoops. I shouldn’t have done so. I shouldn’t have asked Dr. Google. If necessary, better see a real doctor or nurse!


* The joke states: “A statistician can have his head in the oven and his feet in the freezer, and he will say that on average he feels fine” ( As a person with a background in Statistics, I am a bit sensitive to this joke, because it is used to portray Statistics as simplistic. But in fact, Statistics does not teach you to limit yourself to using the mean: Statistics teaches you that beside the arithmetic mean there are other indices to look at, e.g., the variance!


Banner photo by @gradlifemcgill Instagrammer @_martinella_: A hot drink and orange juice… quite a tasty help for someone with a flu!

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