The Flu. Coming To A Person Near You.

Well, it’s been one of those weeks for me. I’ve been running around like a dog chasing his tail, scrambling to find time for just about everything, including this blog! So, I’m sacrificing the gym tonight to write; don’t tell my trainer!

This past week found me on my annual Valentine’s road trip to my parents’ house with my kids. Just imagine little-old-me trapped for ten hours in the car braving the wilds of the highway with a toddler and baby in tow all alone with no help, Yikes!  It was an adventure to say the least, including crying and screaming and ten rounds of my daughter’s Christmas music CD that she begged to listen to. After this trip I’ve decided I might need therapy (ha-ha)!

So, I was supposed to leave Sunday to come home, but when Saturday morning arrived to find my daughter vomiting, running a fever and a slight cough, I knew plans would be changing. Bless her heart; she was so sick. For 24 hours she was stuck to me like “white on rice”, literally. Plus, lucky me I was sharing a bed with her, so I kept waiting for the first signs of nausea, hoping for the best.

I really thought this was going to be a good year for the flu bug. It seemed the country made it through December and January with very little illness. But then February hit; and oh boy, it’s been a harsh reality check for most of the nation. According to ABC News, 44 states have been affected. And the real kicker is, if you received the flu vaccine this year it’s only 40% effective (unlike years in the past when it’s been 90% effective). It almost makes me wish I hadn’t put the whole family through the pain of getting the vaccine.

So in hopes of you and your family staying well, I thought I could find out some information about the flu to share with you. And who better to ask than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? Here’s what they had to say.
“Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and;
  • about 36,000 people die from flu.

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications.
Symptoms of flu include:

  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year.
If you get the flu:

  • Stay home,
  • Get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
  • There are over-the-counter (OTC) medications to relieve the symptoms of the flu (but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever).
  • Remember that serious illness from the flu is more likely in certain groups of people including people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions and young children.
  • Consult your doctor early on for the best treatment, but also be aware of emergency warning signs that require urgent medical attention.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Seek medical care immediately (call your doctor or go to an emergency room) if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs above.”
Well, here’s to hoping all of our households stay flu free!