Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is H1N1 Worthy of the Hype?

I feel qualified to answer this question because as this is being posted, I am on Day 4 of this flu. In many ways, it’s like any other flu. There’s a fever, sore throat (that soon develops into a nasty, wet cough) and muscle aches.

After the first two days, it doesn’t feel as severe as it did during those initial 24 hours, but it also doesn’t seem to let up. I had Mono once in high school and this flu reminds me of Mono because I’m tired all the time. If I fold a load of laundry I have to rest afterward. If I write a paragraph I have to rest afterward. This blog post will set me back days!

My son also has H1N1. He was diagnosed on Halloween and the doc said, “No trick-or-treating for him.” Yeah right. I could not do that to the kid. He’s a six-year-old boy. Running around taking handouts of free candy is his idea of heaven. How could I deny him? I didn’t. (That's him in the photo. He was Swine Flu Indiana Jones). I made him wear a mask, had my husband ring the doorbell and collect the candy, and refused to let him near another human being. Did he still have fun? Heck, yes! He got 80 pieces of candy and told me it was the best Halloween ever!

I think the media has spun this illness beyond the bounds of reality. I know adults and children alike have lost their lives from this flu and that others have had some major scares (the children of two friends had fevers reaching 104 degrees. That’s scary!), but is this flu really worse than other strains? Does the fear do us any good?

Perhaps I’ll answer my own question by saying that our public school phoned last week with a recorded message detailing exactly how our children should be washing their hands (warm water and soap – can you imagine?). I had my son listen. Afterwards, he went into the bathroom and followed the recording’s steps. When he emerged, he proclaimed, “Now when I pick my nose my boogies taste like lemon.”

And that’s how he got H1N1! Anyone out there had it? Do you think it’s worth the hype?