If you’re one of the blessed, lucky few who hasn’t been bit in the butt by this year’s particularly nasty flu bug – maintain a low profile and don’t let him know where you live. Never one to miss out on anything if I can keep from it, I (of course) had to give it a go. What? You say the flu tends to come hand in hand with bronchitis this year and hits harder and lasts longer than normal? Yeah, baby, sign me up!
For five straight days my fever was an honor’s student (nothing below 100), I had chills so severe you’d think I was a Floridian visiting Iowa in January. In shorts. And aches and pains? My aches and pains had aches and pains of their own. To compound matters, the overwhelming feeling of weakness leaves you feeling like you couldn’t even fight off a bad idea.
One of the cutest tricks of this bug is the way it can make you feel like you’re freezing to death one minute (literally underneath 3 covers and still shivering), then convince you that your insides are on fire the next minute. At this point is where you get really nauseous and most people start throwing up. I fought off that joy ride and just headed for a blessed tiled floor to wait for the chill brigade again. When it showed up, back to the couch, living room floor, or computer room floor. My youngest daughter had it the same time I did, and we pretty much kept the same route.
You might just have to trust me on this one. Starting right now, pretend you’re in a movie. Your role is a deliciously complex individual with OCD. Your character washes his/her hands after everything they touch. Heck, they run for soap and water even if they just think of touching something. If you wash them so much you begin to feel kind of silly, then (and only then) you can assume you’re on the right track.
A few more tips from the flu battlefield:
1. If you or anyone you know has the flu, don’t underestimate it’s bite or the suffering that comes from being bitten. If the victim (and I haven’t meant that word so literally in a long time!) is elderly, very young, or has a pre-existing problem such as diabetes, heart disease, or asthma – take yourself or them to the doctor when the symptoms first appear. Excess tiredness, a scratchy throat, weakness, headache, and aches and pains are the early signs.
2. Wash your hands after everything you touch. That one can’t be repeated often enough. Also, teach everyone around you to do the same.
3. Buy disposable cups, napkins, and plates.
4. Make up a lot of tea and stock up on Gatorade or Powerade, Vitamin Water. You need to drink a lot, and if you can drink and give your body what it’s missing at the same time, you’re a step ahead of the game. I love iced green tea, so I kept it flowing – I never got anywhere near dehydrated.
5. Unless you feel extremely nauseous, keep eating. You want your metabolism to keep running and gunning, so keep giving it the fuel it needs. Go with whatever sounds good to you. For me, on days 2 and 3 the only foods I could stand to be near me were applesauce, grape popsicles, and animal crackers. So I went with a soft, purple circus. On the last night though, I HAD to have homemade dumplin’s (maybe it’s a southern thing), so I found myself in the kitchen late at night making dumplin’s. Delicious!
6. Spray or wipe down any places where germs may be lurking. Flu germs can lurk for up to 48 hours – so don’t let them fool you. Buy a can (or 2 or 399) of Lysol and a container of Lysol wipes and go after sinks, toilet handles, light fixtures, doorknobs, refrigerator door handles, pantry doors, wands to open blinds, remote controls, the computer’s mouse, the keyboard, etc. Of course, use the wipe on sensitive things like keyboards and remote controls – you don’t want to saturate them, jut wipe them off.
7. Gargling with warm salt water actually works wonders. Do it quite a few times a day and you’ll be able to tell a big difference.
8. Don’t push yourself too hard because you’ll only suceed in pushing yourself backwards. If you get the flu, it’s too late – he won. You know how they say that when someone has a gun on you and demands your money – the smart thing to do is to give it? Only an idiot would fight, right? Well, the flu bug has the gun and you’re unarmed – so give him what he wants, which is between 1 and 2 weeks of your life. I’ve known some people who were down for 13 days or more – Yesterday was day 6 for me and was the day I felt human again. I think the majority of cases seem to fall somewhere in between the two.
Trying to rush things is where I messed up, I think. After about 2 days, I thought my green tea and I had kicked some serious flu bug butt and I got dressed and took off to take care of a few chores. Common sense found me in the drink aisle at Target and let me know that I wasn’t the heroine I thought I was. I crawled to my vehicle with my tail between my legs and came back home to assume my rightful place on the floor.
9. If you have head and chest congestion, take something over the counter for it. I swear by Tylenol products and they really helped a great deal. I have asthma, so chest congestion isn’t something I like to mess around with.
10. I actually just read something interesting this morning about fever and the flu. A doctor wrote that if your fever is below 101 and you can tolerate the side effects, don’t take anything for it. The fever is actually your body fighting off the virus, so I guess when we shoot down the fever, we’re taking out our own soldiers.
Now, go wash your hands, drink your green tea or Vitamin water, and stay well.