Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flu Is Back. . .And It's Badder Than Ever

by Maggie Sefton


Yes, yes, I know it should be "worse than ever."  But I'm a writer first and last, and I loved the alliteration of Back and Badder.
See?  I told you we writers were strange.  :)

Listen, Everyone, please pay attention and don't just nod and say "Yeah, yeah.  Flu comes every year.  What's the big deal?"  Well, the deal is that influenza is caused by a virus.  Smart vitruses.  Viruses are organisms that mutate.  They change because of the surroundings and/or what they encounter when they're doing their dirty work of making people sick.  That means that every year, viruses get smarter.  Yeah. . .smarter.  By  that, I mean that the organisms adapt to what they encountered, and then. . .they change, mutate, and in the process----they become different.   So. . .when the next late Fall rolls around and flu appears, it's actually a NEW flu.  It's changed.  Consequently, our flu vaccines don't realy work on the new strains.  The vaccines were made over the intervening months using LAST year's flu as the model., so to speak.  The flu vaccine can help shorten or lessen some of the symptoms you encounter, but it won't stop flu from making you sick.

This is a really simplistic explanation of a VERY complicated process, but it serves my purpose.  And my purpose is to warn you that this year's flu is a very bad flu.  Worse than last year and the year before and. . . so on.   Many people here in Colorado who've caught it have seen really bad symptoms----coughing in one person, nausea in another.  The Urgent Care clinics all over my town Fort Collins are packed.   When I caught it Tuesday of last week, I fought the nausea for over a day with prescription anti-nausea pills.  Didn't faze the flu.  Every six hours when the pills wore off, the nausea was back, again and again.  Those pills have always worked before----for years.   Not on this flu.  On Wednesday I had to throw in the towel and go to the hospital ER for an IV drip with special anti-nausea medicine which stops it cold.  Brother!

So----the purpose of this post is to warn all of you readers and bloggers and visitors:  TAKE THIS FLU SERIOUSLY.  It's vicious.  It grabs you and won't let go.   Go to your town's Urgent Care or clinics and get help.  Don't think that resting, taking Tylenol, and drinking fluids will get you through this.  As I said-----this flu is vicious.   Take it seriously and seek treatment.   Stay safe.  

19 comments:

lavendersbluegreen said...

Thank-you.

Ralph E. Vaughan said...

Indeed it is. I came down with the flu at the beginning of the year and I just now starting to shake off its effects, almost three solid months. Not just badder and smarter, but meaner.

Kate Collins said...

Wow. I hadn't heard about this flu, Maggie. (I guess that's a good thing!) I'm 100% with you on the flu vaccines. Not only are they outdated but also, there are usually 13-15 different strains of flu viruses going around, and the vaccine protects against maybe 2-3. Plus it has mercury in it. Best thing to do is beef up the immune system naturally, right?

Lynda said...

I got the strain that causes a cough. I've been through a dose of antibiotics. I don't tolerate anitbiotics well, so they gave me the same symptoms of a stomach flu (nice - two for one symptoms). I tried prescription cough meds, which barely touched it. It has been almost 2 months now and the cough is still with me. I've been relying on cough lozenges at night but some nights I just have to give in and get up. It is really wearing me out. Then, here in CA, we had an early spring (actually, we never really had a winter), so allergies are killer as well. Between the two, I feel so drained. It makes just doing day to day tasks a challenge. And as far as the flu shots, you're right about them only working on a particular flu (which may not even be going around). I know a lot of people who got the shots and still got a flu. It is really ugly.

Aurian said...

Okay, now I really feel smart in refusing to get a flu shot for years. I have heard horror stories of people getting really ill after having one.
I do hope you all feel better soon! It is not really going around here in Holland yet, but I am sure it will. After all, your President and his entourage just visited us ;) With his own plane, his own helicopter and his own limousine. I have to wonder how much that has cost, and which country pays for it though ... we do have limousines and helicopters here as well...

Rachelle21 said...

This flu is hitting people who are in the 50's. Our senior center director does not get flu shots and was hospitalized. Her lungs collapsed and she actually gave up smoking (I like that part). I do get a flu shot. Unfortunately, we have a bug going around that causes nausea and runs. My anti-nausea drug did stop that part. I need to stay away from dairy to make sure the other thing is stopped.
Glad to hear you got drugs to stop the one part. I had to have an IV after seeing a movie in the one theater - I was looking up and there was lots of water in the movie. Though Tom Hanks was great as the Captain.,

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Great advice, Maggie! Thanks for reminding everyone. We always have the shots and wish everyone would. Even so you can still get it if you're not careful. Hugs, MJ

Paula Ratcliffe said...

I got slammed hard by the flu this year from January to February then it started to get better in March to get hit with a four day flu variation. I swear the flu shot did me no good haven't ever been this sick and this past year was the first time I've had the flu shot, so I'm not sure what good it did me I was ridden with nausea, no appetite, fever, chills etc. I'm so glad to be better finally.

Maggie Sefton said...

Horrors, Ralph! That's truly dreadful! Every person's system is different, and I swear the flu virus searches for our weakest points of entrance. I'm SO glad you're finally beginning to feel better. I hope you live somewhere where the weather is getting warmer and there's sunshine.

Maggie Sefton said...

Definitely, Kate. We take those supplements every day. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

Lynda---This is IMPORTANT! Your symptoms sound exactly like the ones for an advanced case of bronchitis. You HAVE to take this seriously. Pneumonia is the next step and that will land you in the hospital. Your symptoms of feeling really drained and lacking energy. Doing day to day things are incredibly tiring. No energy. You MUST go to an Urgent Care or clinic right away and have them check you out and listen to your chest. I've had bronchitis and remember that fatigue. And I was a young woman then. Get to Urgent Care and have them listen to your lungs. Let us know.

Maggie Sefton said...

Aurian---Oh, you better believe you folks will get the flu after that visit. 900 some person entourage. Reports are that the price tags for this trip is stratospheric. No former Admin has spent that much. As a former Certified Public Accountant, I have NO tolerance for Fiscal Irresponsibility.

Maggie Sefton said...

That nasty bug is probably the vicious flu I'm talking about.

Maggie Sefton said...

You're right, MJ.

Maggie Sefton said...

That variation you got was that Vicious Flu I'm talking about. That's exactly what I got. That awful nausea that did NOT want to leave, no appetite, fever and chills. Those chills would come and I'd be shaking, even under the covers. Nasty.

Paula Ratcliffe said...

that made the flu shot seem like a waste of time because nothing worked couldn't get any relief for quite a bit of time. Glad to see I wasn't alone with this flu and glad you are better as well

Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama said...

I had it over Thanksgiving weekend in November. Actually, out of the nine of us at my sister's house (my brother-in-law was the contagion), my husband and my parents were the only ones that didn't come down with it (all with different symptoms). My parents, who are in their seventies, had a flu shot. (This being Strain A of the the flu that was covered by the flu shot) My husband simply has a freakishly strong immune system (although he might have developed a touch of it a few weeks later). I just had the pain and scary-high fever. My son (at the time three-and-a-half) had the same symptoms as me with a cough. My brother-in-law had fever, headache, cough, and aches. For a day and a half, I literally could not move. My nephews and my sister had all of that plus the diarrhea and vomiting. Same strain. All covered by the flu shot. This was particularly troubling because both my youngest nephew and my son suffer from febrile seizures. And I know that both my son and I topped out at over 104 on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. For these reasons, we will be getting our flu shot at the earliest moment it's offered next year. The truly heartbreaking story in all of this occurred locally over Christmas break. A third-grader died from complications of the flu (again, a strain covered by the flu shot). I should note that this was the first time any of us had had the flu before. And I will do pretty much anything to ensure that we never have it again.

Laurie Fancy said...

Excellent advice, MJ. I have psoriasis and diabetes and my doctor & diabetic care nurse absolutely insist on the flu shot. I get it EVERY year! I believe every little bit helps!! Thank God for antibiotics and vaccines!! Stay well, everyone!

Maggie Sefton said...

Susan----Good Lord. That's a terrible toll on your whole family. And look at the variety of symptoms. I'm afraid there's nothing anyone can do to "not get" the flue. Because viruses are intelligent and they change every year so they're totally different strain the next year. And no one has resistance to the "new" variety. Flu vaccine is made for the flu strains that came out the year before. They're always a year behind & we're all sitting ducks.