The flu is waging war on humanity!
Possibly this is a strong statement, but the fact is that 47 states currently report “widespread outbreaks” of the flu.
Where I live, hospitals are asking people to avoid visiting if possible, and children under 16 are not allowed to visit at all.
Soccer teams are being told not to high five, people are keeping their kids home from school to prevent exposure, and those crazy masks you usually only see in the airport in China are popping up all over town!
Because people are freaking the freak out!
But why? And should they be? And, what about you? Do you need to hoard cans and build a panic room to seal yourself in your house until spring?!
Here’s some Real Talk on the Flu for dat a$$…
What exactly is the flu?
Sure, we all know it’s a virus. But, when people say, “Ah, dude, I’ve been in the bathroom all day, I think I have the flu,” they aren’t talking about the one that’s got people afraid to inhale deeply in WalMart. The flu that’s got humans hoarding canned goods and hand sanitizer is a respiratory illness. You know, snotting out your nose, coughing up a lung, fever delirium, that sort of thing. Pretty much you can barely breathe, you can’t really eat, and you sleep more than you move while feeling like death warmed over for at least 3 days, but maybe 2 weeks! Flu symptoms are more like those of a cold than those of food poisoning, only worse. Like, way, way worse.
Am I going to catch it? And, if So, will I die?
Probably. Okay, fine, possibly.
2013 is shaping up to be an aggressive flu season statistically. Basically that means that if there is a year when you are likely to catch the flu, solely based on probability, this would be it. So, if you’re a gambling gal, then put your money on the flu winning this round.
Doesn’t mean it’s a surety (things like your immune system, your hand hygiene, where you live, and if you like to lick windows play a role), just a higher probability that you will contract the disease should you fail to take evasive action (more on that below), or are just unlucky (not much to be done about that). Or gross.
Now, whether or not you are likely to die, not just think you’re going to die, but actually kick off courtesy of influenza, is anyone’s guess. However, there are some factors that sort of weigh against you in this situation as well. Some people are just more susceptible to flu complications (they’re what get ya) that could lead to a seriously effed up go of it and/or death. Those who are super old, super young, super sick already (chronically), or about to give birth to another human being are at greatest risk. Doesn’t mean you’re doomed, just means you need to be diligent.
So, what about the flu shot? Does that thing even work?
The CDC says that getting your “annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others”.
So, just like only you can prevent forest fires, only you can prevent the flu!
I know that some of you don’t trust the gubment government, and that some of you think it’s a conspiracy to like, um, disguise the cloning of circus monkeys, or um, something, so for you, here are some facts about the flu vaccine that I don’t expect you to believe:
- This year’s vaccine is 62% effective in protecting you against contracting the disease. Go ahead and do a little math here, that means that it has a 38% non-effectiveness rate. It’s up to you to do the whole risks vs rewards deal here.
- Medical professionals (which I think it’s safe to assume the majority of the people here reading my little blog are not) say that the flu vaccine doesn’t cause the flu. I know, Grandma Betty says it does, but Grandma Betty also says that you shouldn’t stretch while pregnant because your unborn baby will be strangled. You decide who to trust.
- Antibiotics will NOT cure your flu. However, oftentimes if taken within the first couple days of your illness, antiviral drugs may help speed recovery and reduce the risk of complications.
I just hate shots. What else can I do to prevent this?
Wash. Your. Grubby. Hands.
Following the flu shot, proper hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent contraction and spread of the flu virus (or any virus that is communicable in the same way). And, you shouldn’t just wash your hands well when you’re sick, you should just be a better hand washer in general, especially because you’re contagious with the flu from even before you actually exhibit signs of illness!
Other great ideas: stay home when you’re sick, even if your job wants to get all pissy about it, don’t sneeze into your hands, and stop picking your nose. It’s gross and you introduce foreign antibodies into your body that way.
So, Dumb Mom, what would you do (aka WWDMD)?
I get the shot every year and so do my kids. For me, I am highly susceptible to respiratory illnesses. Blame my lame kidneys. It’s there fault.
As for the Dudes, two of them have asthma, one of them severely. I don’t want them contracting this virus and I’m willing to do whatever I can to keep them safe. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if they contracted the flu, got really sick, or worse, and I hadn’t done everything I could to prevent them from that fate.
Already, we’ve been in the hospital three times with the flu. We’ve had multiple febrile seizures because of the flu. And, a number of chest involved illnesses too.
Influenza is a total a-hole.