I live in the Pacific Northwest and work in a hospital ER. I have seen many, many cases of swine flu over the past few weeks and now a large percent
of family and friends have had it too. For most, it is a hard-hitting short-lived bugger that you can easily overcome with over-the-counter meds.
For others, it is a very deadly disease....but you have to put the numbers in perspective. I think if you were to compare the severity (or
hospitalization) rate, we would find that the typical seasonal influenza A is more deadly. It is just that H1N1 is spreading like wildfire so we are
seeing a much higher infection
Here is a breakdown of the symptoms and course of the disease from the viewpoint of someone who has had it and seen it in dozens of others:
First you get a bad headache that lasts for one to two days, then (usually)goes away.
You feel better at first, but then in about a day or so, your lungs start to burn and you get tired.
Then a few hours later you start coughing and get other upper-respiratory symptoms. The headache starts coming back, but maybe not as bad.
In another hour or so the glands in your neck start to get tender and swell and your body starts getting achy.
Within 12 hours or so you begin alternating between chills and hot-flashes. That is when the fever starts.
The degree of the fever seems to indicate how severe the disease is going to be. This is by no means a proven medical theory or an educated medical
opinion. It is just my theory based on what I have seen and heard. My fever got up to almost 102, whereas my daughers was barely over 100.
Although my daughter has all of these symptoms they are not as severe as mine are. Mine has been easily controlled with a combo of tylenol and
ibuproferin. The people that I have seen in the ER that are the sickest have fevers around 103 that are NOT easily controlled.
The second day into the illness is the worst. This is when the REAL body aches start. Without medication you feel as if a truck hit you and every
part of your body aches. The cough gets worse.
By the third day the aches are backing off but the cough persists.
By the fourth day (where I am now) the cough starts improving, the fever is almost gone and the aches now feel more like you just haven't slept for
awhile rather than being run over by a moving vehicle.
The fifth day usually marks the end of the fever and other nasty stuff for most people. I am not there yet, but I am certainly headed that way and I
suspect that by tomorrow I will be ready for the world again.
So here it is in a nutshell. I'm hoping this might help some people to know what to expect. Also, my teenage son had the headache the same day as
myself and my daughter last week. He then got the sniffles, but otherwise...nada. It would seem that his immune system kicked its butt rather then
the other way around. Meanwhile, his best friend and his whole family was sick with it last week...so I think that's where it came from. So there
is hope that (I think) for some it's possible to be exposed and not have it progress to a full-blown infection. My son has always had a VERY good
immune system and even when the whole family is sick with something he either doesn't get it at all, or has only mild symptoms. My daughter on the
other hand has asthma. I was the most concerned about her. We jumped on her asthma meds though and increased her doses right away and it seemed to
do the trick.
Here is some additional advice on what to do if you come down with it:
Over-the-counter cold/flu meds PLUS ibuproferin
LARGE doses of Vitamin D (I'm taking 6,000 IU) and Vit C
Lots of clear fluids (Water!) and lots of sleep
Remember, this can be deadly for some people, usually due to a secondary infection, namely pneumonia. If you have any shortness of breath, wheezing,
or a high fever that isn't controlled get to the ER!