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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Avoiding "Oink Oink" in Your Home

H1N1---Swine Flu---words that strike absolute terror and pandemonium in some of my friend's lives. I'm not an extremist to begin with and I think most epidemics/pandemics are a little over inflated and over rated. And now that our Nathan has survived a virus that really probably was Swine Flu, I feel like I can offer comfort and wisdom to those in the panic population.

First of all, I'm going to tell you our story so you can laugh with us and our laid-back approach to life. Last Wednesday, we sent all three kids to AWANAS. They had a great time and Sean had to get them to stop running all over the place to load them up and bring them home. As we're getting pajamas on, Nathan starts complaining of a headache and from his reactions, I can tell he's fighting a migraine. He was light sensitive and kept trying to get undressed with a pillow over his face. I helped him get ready for bed, gave some Tylenol for the headache and closed up the Nathan Cave for the night.

In the morning, he's up and getting dressed for school. Nothing out of the ordinary other than moving slow. Since the kids are up late on AWANAS night, we expect them to be dragging a little on Thursday. When he started to have a mini-meltdown about breakfast, he went to the couch and started in again with things on his eyes. Sean went to hug him and ask if he still had a migraine and when kissing Nathan, he realized there was a fever. It got up to a 101 a couple times in the day, but most of the time hovered right at 100. Nothing Tylenol couldn't control. Before bed on Thurs. night, he started complaining about a sore throat. Looking in his throat, it looked suspiciously like strep throat so off to Urgent Care.

***Side Note*** Even the Urgent Care doctor thought we were freaks. Sean took Nathan in while I put the kids to bed. Please note it only costs us about $5 more to go to Urgent Care instead of waiting for the doctor's office to be open. My theory was that Strep needs antibiotics. Why not get them before bed and let him sleep off the first 8 hours of the antibiotics doing their work. The doctor couldn't believe we'd come in the first day of symptoms. He commented on this several times that most people wait a while before coming in to the Urgent Care. So, in my mind, we're really great parents to care enough to seek treatment right away. LOL!

The Urgent Care doc said it's not strep and the symptoms were similar to influenza/flu or H1N1/Swine Flu. Frankly, I thought the guy was off his rocker. I chalked it up to standard kid virus and kept going. He had fever Friday and it broke Fri. night. He was fever free/symptom free all day Sat. Just a little run down and resting after running around like usual. He slept 12 hours from Sat. to Sun. and woke up with a cough and a low-grade fever. It never went above a 99.7, but we chose to keep him home from school on Monday because of the cough and to give him one more day to heal up. The 99.7 makes it 'technically' ok for him to return to school, but we wanted to err on the side of caution.

Last night, I decided to check on the Swine Flu and see what the symptoms really are. At the CDC Website, they have great information on when it becomes life threatening, but not good basic info. The best info I found was at the UK Comparable Website. The UK site says,

So far, most swine flu cases have been mild, with symptoms similar to those of seasonal flu. Only a small number of people have had more serious symptoms.
If you or a member of your family has a fever or high temperature (over 38°C/100.4°F) and two or more of the following symptoms, you may have swine flu:
unusual tiredness,
* headache,
* runny nose,
* sore throat,
* shortness of breath or cough,
* loss of appetite,
* aching muscles,
* diarrhoea or vomiting.

Wow! In hindsight, perhaps it was H1N1. He had headache, "high fever"--since when is 100.4 considered high?!?!---as well as sore throat and he got the cough. He had loss of appetite, but that comes with fever around here. It was the easiest illness we've had in a long time. Saturday and Sunday found him running circles around the house and jumping on the mini-trampoline because he was going stir crazy. He didn't really look sick, but the low grade fever was indicating to me his body was finishing the fight.

When I guffaw out loud at the media with their inflamed reports of H1N1--the Killer Flu, don't mind me. I often think these reports are a smoke screen by the media and the government to keep us from focusing on things they don't want to discuss. If you are immuno-compromised, the H1N1 flu has the potential to turn into something worse if untreated. For those at high risk, all forms of flu should be treated with caution.

Here's the final kicker of the experience. When at the Urgent Care, the doctor said he wouldn't test for H1N1 even though he believed it was what Nathan had. When Sean asked why not, the doctor said the test is $200 and the current course of treatment for children with H1N1 is Tylenol. His course of treatment for Nathan (flu or no flu) was Tylenol. No need to put a dot on a map at $200 to be given Tylenol.

My recommendation for those with panic attacks over H1N1 is to relax. It was truly no big deal here. We've had colds that were worse than this. The hard part is the recovery is long...especially when he's feeling great and isn't allowed to go out and play.

Tips to keep healthy:

  • Cover your cough. DO NOT cough or sneeze into your hands. Please cough into your elbow or shoulders. It helps keep the germs from spreading.
  • Practice good hand-washing techniques. If you haven't learned how to wash hands, soap/scrub while you sing happy birthday to yourself (about 30 seconds). I put the Hand Washing against H1N1 Poster above.
For those in panic about the Oink Oink Flu, take a deep breath and remember it's really not so bad!


Keeslermom said...

Ooo, If that's all it is, we had it too! Low grade fever, tired, bad cold. No upset tummies though, so I assumed it was just a bad cold, not the dreaded Swine!!! At our house, we call it heiney flu, because silly mommy read H1N1 as HINI!

I linked your other blog on mine!

Jill said...

Well said, Robin!

Jenny said...

I think we may have had it around here, too. Fever, headache, and cough in all three kids and each one took 4 days to get over it. You're right, we've had much worse (knock on wood!), certainly better than influenza A or B!

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