A Flu Story
The last time I had the flu I was single. My muscles ached so bad; it hurt to lift my arm. I felt like I was hit by a truck and every move was painful. I recovered never to have the flu again until twenty-two years later.
Fast forward to January 2018. I am married and a mother of a special needs child. My son is twelve years old. He was born with a rare form of dwarfism that required him to be on a ventilator to breathe for the first nine years of his life. Though he does not need the ventilator anymore, he still has a trach and a g-tube. Therefore, we are vigilant to keep our son healthy.
So when we heard the flu was going around, we decided to not go out in public with him. We even stopped going to church. And for four weeks, our plan was working. We washed hands frequently and kept him inside when the temperature dropped below 60 degrees.
Then it happened. Our normally vocal child was quiet and sleeping on an early Friday evening. He had a fever. I wiped him down with a wet face cloth and with the help of Tylenol, got his fever down. By Saturday morning, my husband was down. And by Saturday evening, I had a fever.
The perfect storm. All three of us were sick at the same time. I made it to the doctor’s office on Monday afternoon (first appointment available). A swab stick in my nose confirmed I had Influenza Type A. I received a prescription for the generic version of Tamiflu and went home to recover. Since my son got sick on Friday, he was not a candidate for Tamiflu.
What followed was a week of sleepless nights and round the clock albuterol treatments. My son’s fever would come back two more times. After we took my son to the doctor, he was given steroids to help with the inflammation in his lungs. Within days, we were all healthy again.
As I scoured Facebook and read the news, I learned we were not alone in getting the flu. Officials publicly hope this flu season has peaked, but caution more strains could be coming. As I started to feel better, I wondered if I am immune from getting the flu? The answer is yes, for influenza A. But not for influenza B.
So what can you do to avoid this particular season of the flu? The Centers for Disease Control suggest the following: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm
1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.
3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
4. Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.
How I Avoid The Flu
As a mother of a special needs mom, I am extra diligent to be germ free. I wipe down the shopping cart handle with a sanitizing wipe provided by the store. If there are no wipes, I push the cart with my elbows so my hands don’t touch the cart.
When I am asked to sign the credit card machine, I will pull a tissue from my purse and wrap it around the pen provided. If I don’t have a tissue, I ask the clerk for a paper towel. Sure, it looks funny and I may get a questioning look, but it’s worth it not to pick up any germs.
Any time I come home from shopping, I not only wash my hands before I touch anything in the house, but I use a sanitizing wipe to clean my cell phone as well. Since I use my phone so much, it’s easy to forget that it needs to be sanitized as well. I also read about a special needs family that changes their clothes when they come home to keep their children healthy.
Do these tips guarantee you won’t catch the flu? No. As you read earlier, even with all these precautions, we still caught the flu. Looking back, I can not pinpoint when we may have picked up the virus. I will continue to use precautions including using daily vitamins, probiotics, getting enough sleep, reducing stress when I can, and avoiding fried and GMO foods.
What steps do you take to avoid flu? Comment below. You never know how your comment could help another family stay flu-free.