Posts Tagged ‘flu’

Flu Worries Take Center Stage

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Until last month, I mostly worried about earthquakes, tsunamis and getting nuked by North Korea. They were splendid prompts for worry since they fall in my specialty area – things I can’t control.

But now, with the flu epidemic going full tilt, I have shifted focus. Natural and political disasters have taken a back seat to the new random terror: H3N2.

With abysmal reports of misery and even death and the end not yet in sight, the flu provides a brand new playground for worry. I know because I have Googled its every aspect in an effort to grab some sliver of control – like knowing I’ve got it or even better, preventing it. Not easy.

Symptoms? The Communicable Disease Center, trying to be helpful, has reported that if you’re about to be doomed you will often feel some or all of these: fever or feeling feverish/chills (except maybe not fever), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea (except maybe not in adults).

So bottom line, sometimes you will have these and sometimes you won’t. And sometimes the same symptoms will occur if you just have a cold. To their credit, CDC has provided a chart that helps you figure out, based on the symptoms, which is more likely and a list of developments that should send you straight to the doc.

The cold vs. flu chart allows optimists to talk themselves into the fact that it’s only a cold, at least for a little while until wham! the slight or uncommon symptoms from the cold column migrate to the flu column, and there you are.

According to my other info source – Facebook – this can happen quickly, as with the church friend who reportedly experienced a throat tickle on Monday, thought it was a cold but woke up on Tuesday with a fever and total body ache and went to urgent care where she “blacked out and fell over onto the floor.”

The happy news was that it earned her some anti-viral medication, which the CDC recommends “as soon as possible” if you’re a person of a certain age or high risk.

The unhappy news was that it fueled my what-if monster. As in what if this happens while you’re driving? And what if it happens if you’re not? And what if you have the flu but don’t think it’s the flu and don’t get the medicine in time?

All this has fueled a bizarre sort of hyper-vigilance. I have made it my business to monitor every possible symptom so I can rush out in time to get the drugs.

Last night around 10, I felt really tired and found myself analyzing whether I felt more tired than I usually do at 10. My back ached a little, too. But then my back does that sometimes. This morning, my left elbow felt a little achy, and before I knew it, I was wondering if I was about to go into full-fledged body aches that are more stunning than usual after I’ve been to the gym. I also had a headache, but voila! It disappeared with a migraine pill, which is usually the case with stress. Go figure.

Of course, besides monitoring symptoms, I am paying strict attention to the CDC’s suggestions for preventing this in the first place. Besides getting a flu vaccine (done) and washing my hands to a ridiculous degree, I am trying to “avoid close contact with sick people.” This is a little tricky since they also report that healthy adults can be contagious a day before symptoms develop.

But in truth, this is the luckiest part of the epidemic. For the sake of prevention, I’m staying away from big long meetings with healthy adults, especially the ones that drag on. You can’t be too careful with your health.

Copyright 2018 Pat Snyder

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