H1N1 Flu Symptoms Log | Swine Flu diary

I wish this were a computer related post. Then I could give instructions, a removal tool suggestion and all would be better, but this is health related. For the last week and a little bit our household has been dealing with the current H1N1 outbreak on a very personal level. Friday October 23rd my wife took our 20 month old to the doctor for his seasonal flu shot and while there found that they do have the H1N1 vaccine on hand. Given his age he would need it in two doses separated by a month. So, she went ahead and got him the first shot that day and scheduled a time for our 8 year old to get the H1N1 shot and a followup for our youngest. At this time we are outside the age range that they are allowing to get the vaccination. Saturday (the next day) our oldest came down with a sudden high fever. Actually I think it started with chills. He slept a good part of the day and that night we made plans to take him to urgent care the following day (Sunday) if his fever continued. It did. Urgent care (5 hour or so visit I think) confirmed H1N1 via a nose swab and prescribed tamiflu.

He continued with fever and rest most of Sunday and got his first dosage of Tamiflu in and within about 6 hours was starting to sound more like normal. He told us that one student had missed Thursday and Friday with Swine flu and so we estimated that he picked it up Wednesday prior and started his symptoms 3 days later. Well. Monday I had a sore throat and cough which was a bit different from his symptoms. He had a cough after the fever onset. I went ahead with my work on Monday. Tuesday my wife had a fever and aches although at the time she didn’t admit that she was getting sick. Wednesday our oldest went back to school as he had been without a fever for 24 hours and both my wife and I had a fever and were definitely sick. She went to the doctor and was told that the CDC is limiting tamiflu to the very young, very old and immune compromised so… they were surprised our oldest got it and the only thing they could suggest was to take ibuprofin and acetamenophine (advil/tylenol) to combat the fever and aches.

My cough had continued and entire ribcage has felt as though I’ve been used as a piñata. Unfortunately just two weeks ago I had some sort of upper respiratory bug (which until this week I had thought was a mild H1N1) during which I apparently reinjured a rib (cracked several years back). I had been prescribed codeine for the coughing and that has helped tremendously. My wife has not had quite as much coughing, but has had a fever every day from Tuesday through yesterday (Saturday). Our youngest, the hope was, had enough of the vaccine in his system that he wouldn’t get it. Unfortunately, he did anyway. So, Saturday (yesterday) we made the trip back to urgent care. (His fever started Friday night at 7:30). Another 6 hours to confirm what we knew and get the 20 month old a prescription for tamiflu.

Today I feel worse than yesterday, probably because it was such a long day waiting at the Urgent Care. I’ve also tried to avoid the tylenol/advil today. My cough is still fairly active (tomorrow will be a week since the dry cough started). My throat still hurts (at this point it feels bruised though). Fortunately both of our children seem to be doing much better thanks to the tamiflu. (Our oldest bounced back really after about four days total. He did miss another day of school later in the week, but after his first day back seemed tired out.)

We learned that my sons class had 10 students missing on Tuesday of this last week (out of 21) and 7 missing on Wednesday (don’t know what, if any, overlap.) It has been at least 3 weeks since I remember first hearing of the H1N1 cases in his school and about 6 weeks I think since I remember hearing of an acquaintance of a coworker that had H1N1. Unfortunately my oldest missed the seasonal flu vaccination at his school (Tuesday while he was out.) So, now we are trying to find him a shot for that. (According to one sign I saw the seasonal flu vaccine clinic at one local drug store has been canceled due to a demand for them to shift production to H1N1 vaccine.

Needless to say at this point we WON’T be getting an H1N1 shot, we’ve had the real thing. I read in the news this weekend that there are expected to be 50 million vaccines available by mid November and 150 million by mid December for H1N1. Get that barn door closed GOOD and tight! Judging from most of what I can see we are currently at a peak for this pandemic. At least here in the US I suspect by mid November most of the country will have already been exposed to H1N1. Most of the CDC data indicates widespread activity in most every state. A survey from the first weeks of October reflected that 1 out of 5 children in the country had experienced flu symptoms… I suspect if the survey were at the end of the month we may be up to 3 out of 5 or more. A survey by the end of November I suspect would show the outbreak on the decline. What’s sad is that immunity from a vaccination can take several weeks to build up. Which means if you get a shot in mid-November (assuming you haven’t caught H1N1 by then) you won’t really have immunity until about the end of the month/start of December.

I’m thinking that the seasonal flu may be a bit worse this year because all of the focus has been on H1N1 and the seasonal flu shots have been in short supply due to the rush to shift production over to H1N1 vaccines now.

I am just thankful that this pandemic has not been as deadly as it first appeared in the spring. It is evident that we are NOT prepared to deal with pandemic flu as it seems each and every measure has been too little, too late. I think the restriction on tamiflu came about Monday (one day after our oldest had to visit urgent care.) If he had been sick one day later he would have had to go without tamiflu and judging from how long we’re taking to get over this without tamiflu, he would have had a good 4-6 days of fever and then some.

What mystifies me is that tamiflu seems to be something that can be manufactured regardless of the flu strain. It doesn’t (at least from what I have seen) have to be custom designed for a specific type of flu. We have known this has been coming since spring and apparently still there are shortages. The vaccine, I do understand takes time to create and has to be designed specifically to the strain that is active. I hope public health officials, government leaders, etc. are taking notes though because if this were more deadly a pandemic there would be a lot to answer for our unpreparedness. I think there likely is a lot to answer for in spite of this being less deadly than first thought.

This has been an even MORE fun week for me due to my Meniere’s symptoms which were acting up last weekend and I had started a round of prednisone for. With all of the congestion – those symptoms haven’t cleared up so I have the ocean roaring in my ear at the moment as I wonder if I’m well enough to make my scheduled appointments tomorrow. Updates may be added as necessary……

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