I was not a bit surprised to read in the local paper this morning that the flu is expected to be a doozey in the US this winter, seeing as how it is both a particularly nasty strain and has started earlier than usual. In the same article, they refer to a new breed of norovirus sweeping the nation, and I wonder if that’s what I was lucky enough to get in Colorado earlier this year. The parts about “explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting” certainly sound familiar.
I went to Wikipedia and read up on the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak, which is the best known and one of the most lethal “natural disasters” in history. It is said to have killed 3-5% of the world’s entire population, and took its biggest toll in sufferers between 20-40 years old. That was particularly unusual, but the epidemiology indicates that those very robust immune systems reacted with “cytokine storms,” which was a sort of significant immune reaction, and that strong reaction left their bodies ravaged. Many of the deaths ultimately came through a secondary infection of pneumonia. Now imagine that happening concurrently with World War One. Scary, huh?
I am reasonably sure that the recent illness in the Vox household was a current version of the flu. Junior and I both had fevers that ranged from 5-7 days long, which is very unusual for us. We all had very strong, phlegmy coughs and I hacked so badly for days that all the muscles around my ribs were sore. The cough and fever started us out (JV had the vomiting as well), and then we moved from there to lots of sinus congestion and drainage, and finished with sore throats. That’s exactly bass-ackward for how we usually get sick; we ordinarily start with the sore throat, then go through the congestion and finish with the cough.
None of us had the flu vaccine this year, though I understand the variant in the vaccine wasn’t “the right one” this year and that we probably would have got the flu anyway. We treated it mainly with Tylenol and by taking big swigs off a bottle of elderberry and echinacea extract that I got from the local health food store. Mr. Vox and I also took Mucinex to help keep things loose, as it were. I had a big pot of water steaming on the stove all day long as well. Nothing besides Tylenol really made us feel much better; we just had to ride it out. I am hoping, hoping, hoping that we are through with being sick for the winter.
How are your families faring over this flu season?