Bulgarians Ill in Winter

Everyone seems to be ill in Bulgaria during the winter, colds, flu, headaches, you name it they've all come down with something recently. This happens every winter here, I think I know why.

In the winter many just stay indoor unless it is essential that a trip has to be made. Going to work the buses are crowded with all the windows shut. In the work places, the air-conditioning circulates the germs in a air trapped environment. In the Post Offices, Banks and other utility payment places, the waiting in queues with virus filled people seems never ending. These queues are tightly packed, you will often get someone breathing down your neck wherever you queue here. It is no wonder that sickness is at its prime during the winter.

The amount of money spend on drugs is almost on par with the cost of food. I often wonder why there are so many chemists in Yambol, perhaps this is the reason, to cope with the demands that are set upon them in the winter months. Aspirin, paracetamol, throat lozenges, cough syrups, but none as popular than the rakia which is frequently being dipped into as a winter medicine. The 46 litres of 42% proof rakia that was made a few months ago is now down to 30 litres and counting. I dread to think how people cope without rakia. Certainly not making your own would add substantially to the chemists' profits and the increased poverty stricken communities here.

So why haven't I been ill every winter? I can't remember having anytime when I have had a virus, cold or flu since being here. Everyone else around me is dropping like ninepins and the Englishman seems to be immune from all the bugs that are going around. It's not as if I do anything different from anyone else apart from recently taking up jogging again. I'm indoors all day, I queue for hours and use the sardine buses and I also am subjected to air-conditioning environments all day. So why am I in perfect health each winter?

It's a mystery, I don't have an answer and neither do the coughing and spluttering people around me. Galia and Baba both have picked up colds over the last couple of days, Ivo is expected to fall with it any day now and there's me off jogging for an hour. I feel quite guilty about my good health, but then not going jogging wouldn't help matters either.

Spring is only a few weeks away now, the 1st March should just about have seen us through this Bulgarian winter and the illnesses that go with it. March 1st of course is another big day, it's another Imen Den (Name Day), the biggest name day of the year. Have you guessed what it is yet?