After 8 years in an Emergency Department, very little phases me. But at home? One runny nose, one sniffle, or one cough and I’ve got Lysol wipes at the ready.
Because it’s flu season. And flu plus asthma (like in my family) equals all sorts of bad things.
This year’s flu (influenza – not the stomach bug) is manflu strong.
Spoiler alert: my family all had the flu this winter, but we all got better. It was, however, a very miserable time.
I don’t remember who started sniffling first, not that it matters.
At the first sign of a sniffle, runny nose, or a cough, it’s time to break out the big guns. Nebulizers, steroids, and inhalers are strewn about everywhere. Because with asthma, any “little bug” can be a big problem.
In any case, the older two boys had the flu first. Then the youngest boy. Then my husband. And finally, after everyone was mostly better, I sat down long enough to realize I had it, too (thankfully, the baby managed to escape the brunt of it… because she’s still nursing and so she got lots of antibodies ready-made at mealtime).
And y’all… I had to apologize after the fact for thinking they were hamming it up or vying for extra special care from mom-nurse.
The flu is an epidemic this year, and when breathing is already a concern like in my family? Well… it’s all worse.
The flu is nationwide, so be prepared.
In fact, the CDC has said that there’s pretty much a nationwide outbreak of flu right now. (So I guess we were lucky, catching it early over Christmas break?)
How can you be prepared for something that’s, well, everywhere?
First of all, if you haven’t gotten the flu vaccine yet, go get it. It’s a whopping 48% effective this year, which isn’t great. But it still helps by giving your body a head start on fighting off the flu.
In fact, I’m certain that’s the main reason we managed to weather it out at home. Okay, so that and my being an overprepared nurse.
Here’s what you can do to prevent sharing those germs:
But whether you’re for or against that vaccine, make sure you’re also being germ smart. You know…
? Wash those hands, y’all. Especially before you eat stuff.
? Don’t touch your face after touching stuff.
? Sneeze into the crook of your elbow, then bathe regularly in disinfectant.
? Don’t hang out with sick people, or you’ll get sick.
? If you’re sick, don’t hang out with other people if you can reasonably avoid it.
? Go see your doctor earlier, rather than later. Because “later” usually means a nice, long, hospital visit.
Oh, and know the symptoms of flu so that you aren’t confusing “flu” with “everything else”.
BTW: Quarantine is a totally valid option.
Please, stay HOME when you’re sick.
Look, I get that school is important. And work. And so is weekly worship service.
But if you’ve got the flu (or any other super contagious disease), please stay home. Because otherwise, you’re going to be breathing all those lovely germs into everyone else’s faces, or spreading them across all sorts of doorknobs, desk surfaces, and chairs.
I’m confident that schools, employers, and God will forgive you for calling in sick with this manflu, er, flu.
Because if sick people don’t stay home in a self-initiated quarantine… well, then more bad things happen. That’s when the flu spreads to other healthy people. And those people can, knowingly or not, give it to people with immune systems that don’t work so hot.
This can include the elderly, babies, pregnant women, and people with asthma, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, diabetes, and I could keep going for a long time here, but… let’s cut to the chase.
Because these are the people that are far more likely to die from the flu.
So keep your germs to yourself, because nobody likes a germ sharer.
We were lucky this time. We didn’t need hospitalization for our flu sumptoms or our asthma. But “luck” isn’t a reliable strategy when it comes to illness.
So please… let’s help each other stay healthy this flu season. Keep your germs to yourself.