Saturday, September 12, 2009

H1N1 - It's in Loudoun. Party Anyone?

10/13/09 IMPORTANT UPDATE:  Yes, this is a funny little post, and has some good information.  BUT, more information is now available - and getting the latest and greatest updates is important - PLEASE, refer to my more recent post and the update at the bottom.  It might be the tidbit of knowledge that saves your life:  .


Yep.  I am sure that's what I've had all week.  No, I didn't have testing... the cdc doesn't really recommend it.  It's been a long time since I had a flu that did more than inconvenience me.  This one put me in bed for a few days.

In case you're wondering, here's what I now know:
- It doesn't really matter "which" flu it is.  It's all contagious, it all makes you feel terrible.
- Symptoms are fever, sore throat, cough, sneeze, running or stopped up nose, achy-all-over feeling, fatique.  Some people get tummy problems, not all.  It seems pretty much like any flu we're used to getting.
- For most people you don't need medicine and you don't need to go to the doctors'.  You need to stay home.  Treat your symptoms like you would normally - cold medicine, fever and pain medicine, vitamin C, fluids and rest.
- Don't panic.  It sucks, but it is not the end of the world.

A couple of things I thought were interesting:
- In most cases, people over 60 are considered high risk for complications from the flu.  For some reason, that's not so with this one. It seems that people over 60 have an antibody to help fight against this flu strain.  Did a similar virus circulate 60 years ago? It seems the only logical conclusion.
- My friend said dogs can get this flu.  I didn't learn that from any reputable news source - but my friend tends not to circulate silly rumors; and dogs can get lots of our illnesses.  So, if you're one of those "my dogs are my children" people (like my best friend), your dogs are at risk - keep them out of your bed for a few days.
- Apparently, there are people out there that are intentionally getting the flu.  They are organizing Swine Flu parties, and going to visit some one who is sick with it and trying to get the flu themselves.  Their hope is that they'll get "a little" sick now, rather than deathly ill later.  I am just wondering how people know that they'll get "a little sick" rather than "deathly ill" now?  The CDC agrees with me and recommends against this.... but I am a sarcastic person so I posted on Facebook that I was having a Swine Flu party.  Look, when you're sick, you have to get your jollies where you can.

In case you're old like me... there's a new rule, do you know it?  We no longer cough into our hands... you're supposed to cough into your sleeve.  There's supposedly a hit video you can buy if you want, but that's all it's gonna tell you:
Okay... but, I want to say something important - so keep reading.  In February or March of 1992 there was a flu going around - it was a bad one.  I managed to catch it.  I remember watching on TV where the ERs were flooded and the news cast was saying that because it was viral there was nothing they could do, so stay home.  And, I hate hospitals, so I stayed home.  It was a stomach flu.  I got so bad that my stomach was swollen from vomitting and I couldn't lay on my stomach because it hurt, and I couldn't lay on my back because the weight of my stomach was so heavy against my lungs that I couldn't breath.  My 2 year old son was keeping me alive with Dixie Cups of water, because I couldn't get out of bed.  If I tried to get out of bed or even sit up, I passed out.  And, I lived alone with my 2 year old son, so that was not OK.  Eventually I had my mom come get my son, I thought I would die and he would be there alone with me.  I truly went 3 days without getting out of bed.  Three days.... not even to go to the bathroom, and no I was not wetting my bed - I was that dehydrated.  My mother begged me to go to the ER, I refused and refused.  Eventually she convinced me.  She said "so you're going to die and leave me to tell this little boy that his mother didn't even try to stay alive for him?".  I went. Guilt wins every time.  But, Mom had to dress me, and carry me to the car.  I was really bad off. 
As it turns out there IS stuff they can do for the flu.  (Wish someone on TV had said that, I'd have been there sooner.) For me, it was that they could put me on an IV so I didn't die of dehydration.  The doctors actually thought I should have already been dead at that point.  They also have anti-viral medication... I don't know if they had it then, but they have it now.  They won't give it to everyone, but if you get sick enough, you can get some.

I share this story so that you learn, there's a balance.  Yes, give yourself a few days.  Use grandma's remedies and try to heal yourself.  For most people it will work.  But,  when you start thinking that you're going to die, you probably are - so go to the hospital.  There is no good reason to suffer like that.  My son almost lost his mommy.  As much as you hate hospitals, or as much as I do, there's a time for them.  Ask for help when you need it.

So, the points of my post are this:
- Don't panic about this flu.  Most of us will be just fine, and the news media just likes using buzz words.... pay no attention to them.  Besides, as I pointed out, listening to the news nearly cost me my life once, so now I take everything they say with a grain of salt.
- An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure (ever hear that?) - it means wash your hands, take vitamin C and try to stay in overall good health.  IF you get the flu, you're more likely to get through it just fine if you're otherwise in good health.
- If you're likely to get complications, get the shot when it's available.  If there are limited supplies, let those at the highest risk get the shot.  It's the right thing to do.
- If you get the flu, use grandma's remedies, and you'll likely be fine (cinnamon toast, chicken noodle soup, orange juice, cold cloth on your head while the rest of you is buried in layers of blankets, and have someone rub your back - that always helps).
- Don't let the dog sleep in your bed, or eat your leftovers.  There's no reason to have a sick dog if you can avoid it.
- Watch for complications and use common sense.  When you're sick enough, you may not really be able to judge for yourself just how sick you are.  Rely on others to help you judge.  If you live alone, make sure someone is checking on you. 
- Do go to the hospital if you need to.

And, when all else fails - plan a Swine Flu Party!!!
For more information, visit
For information on Loudoun's plans for a pandemic (because we are prepared), for plans for dealing with this in school, and other information, visit the LoCo Health Department site:
LoCo Health Dept is offering a meeting for the public on 9/23 at 7pm in Ashburn - and details are available on the above web site... in case you don't think a real estate agent has the best health information available (Note: I am a real estate agent.  I am not a doctor, although I do play Dr. Mom at home.  I am just trying to share my experiences with you - I take no liability if you rely on this and die.  Got it?).
Flu Shots:
The vaccination for the H1N1 (Swine flu) is not yet available.  But, getting any flu sucks.  So, if you're interested in protecting yourself against our regular flu bugs, get yourself a shot... Where?
*  Yes, you can get a flu shot at your doctor's office.  It might be covered by your health insurance, so check.
*  Most local health departments are also offering them....although I don't see that on LoCo's web site.  Hmm....
*  Shots are available for about $25 at just about all major pharmacies - CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid.  Check out their web sites, call or just stop in and ask.
*  An urgent care center is offering Drive Thru Flu Clinics where they'll give you the shot and you don't have to get out of your car.  Seems a little strange to me, but there are 2 dates, the cost is still $25 and they're doing it in Ashburn and Leesburg... check it out:  Also I picked up a coupon for $5 off at their Urgent Care, so sneak in (in advance) and pick one up at the front desk if you're thinking about trying this out.
Hope something in here was helpful.  I will try to make my next post on something a bit more fun.  My last ones (about Obama and the school speech, and 9/11, and now this - the flu)... well, they're kinda downers; but that's how life is sometimes.  There's lots of good stuff, too. So, I will try to write about that next. 

Stay tuned.... and stay healthy.... until next time....

Found this article  by NY Times - watch the video (they won't let me imbed it, darn it):

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