Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Flu - it really is a killer!

This week, I have experienced what it's like to have flu. Not a bad 'man-flu' cold or a chest or sinus infection that makes me feel vile. No, this seems to be the genuine article (although no guarantee without a swab!) and something I haven't had for many many years. 

My waking temperature has been at a minimum of 38.5 degrees celsius for four days now - but is finally showing signs of abating (thanks to regaining my appetite enough to eat and take ibuprofen). I've had the shivers, the shakes and the sweats. Then there's the dry chesty cough, aching muscles, dodgy tummy, difficulty sleeping and exhaustion. My sheets and pyjamas have been dripping for days.

But the good news is that I think I am coming through it … and in one piece. And yes, I know I should be taking it easy, but there's only so much resting I can do.

Over the last day or so, I have been told by my loved ones to call the GP. But what exactly is my GP going to do? Pronounce that I have flu? Tell me I have a viral infection? He/she is certainly not going to be prescribing antibiotics, as these won't help. And I wouldn't want to go into the GP surgery, in case I pass my germs to everyone else.

Plus, any advice that my GP can offer I should already know…
  • Take paracetamol at full dose
  • Take ibuprofen at full dose (but only after food)
  • Drink plenty of fluids (especially warm drinks)
  • Eat whenever I feel hungry - stick to simple things like toast
  • Avoid dairy products if I am chesty
  • Sponge myself with a warm/cool flannel to lower my temperature - I resorted to a cool shower too
  • Keep warm (but not too warm)
  • Stick myself in quarantine (until my kids decided to keep checking up on me to make sure I am still alive - just as well they both went back to school today)
  • Gaze aimlessly at mindless TV programmes to pass the day
  • Don't do anything too taxing - although I seem to have ignored that one today.
And watch out for key signs that complications are developing - chest pain, breathing difficulties, an unexplained rash, coughing up blood, temperature that doesn't drop with paracetamol and/or ibuprofen etc. Nothing to worry about so far … but I am using my asthma inhalers just in case.

Apparently flu can last for seven to 10 days, so I could have at least another three days to go (hopefully not, as I have deadlines looming). At least I am now well enough to write, even if I can't concentrate long enough to work. And on a positive note, flu is great for weight loss and reading time. Not that I would recommend it, of course!

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