I know I tend to overreact to things but I am literally terrified that this flu season may turn out to be exactly like the one in 1919 that killed millions of people throughout the world. I hope to God this doesn't happen but with the lack of flu shots and medication such as Tamiflu I don't see this ending anytime soon or well.


Comments 125

  • Kathy P

    Hugs it's definitely scary listening to the news and hearing about seemingly healthy people becoming critically I'll very quickly after onset. I was reading an article the other day about why certain strains become so severe. It had to do with what strain you were first exposed to. The bad one this year is an H3 which people under 50 haven't been exposed to, so they have no immunity. I'll have to see if I can find the article.

  • Tiffany F.

    I am so glad I don't watch the news… this is the first I've heard about it within my bubble.   Until it strikes, not going to worry.   We all have enough to worry about, rest easy 

  • Paularose

    Unfortunately I am a news junky and that is all they are showing on all the news channels. Even, God willing it doesn't develop like in 1919 it is certainly a very serious flu strain as extremely young healthy individuals are actually dying within one day of exhibiting symptoms. It sucks.

  • Tiffany F.

    that sounds like something more serious than the flu.  Maybe they are pegging it the flu when it's something else.

  • K8sMom2002

    Flu IS serious, and you definitely need to take precautions.

    I'm a worrier, too. But here are some ways that have helped me deal with my anxiety about the flu:

    • Get a ! Even if it doesn't perfectly match every strain of flu we may be exposed to, it can help.
    • Get a ! Folks with asthma need to talk with their doctors to see if a pneumonia shot is right for them, as a secondary infection from pneumonia can be a complication that could be prevented.
    • Wash hands! That's something that the folks in 1919 didn't understand — washing hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection. 
    • Follow other .
  • K8sMom2002

    I think this is the article that Kathy P was referring to — it's a . According to it, if you were born before 1968, you could have some protection from certain strains of the flu. It was first published in November.

    Tiffany, while "just the flu" IS serious, potentially even deadly, you CAN take steps to prevent it. 

    Hugs — I try to take the CDC recommendations to heart and follow them faithfully, then turn off the news.

  • Tiffany F.

    We do take steps every day to combat any type of illness strain.   At the end of the day, you have to Let Go and Let God!  (or drive yourself crazy in the process) 

    No doubt it is serious.   I just know worrying yourself to death with stress can cause serious health issues also… trust me, I have experienced them this year after my daughter had her asthma attack.  I am still seeing a cardiologist and he believes a lot of my issues to be stress related.   So might as well not kill myself with stress while I am trying hard to avoid the flu!  

  • Tiffany F.

    P.S. I say this with open arms and hugs because I dont want anyone to experience stress-related complications!  Not to downplay anyone's stressors (there's a million dangers everywhere we turn) just suggesting from my heart!   

  • Kathy P

    I don't think that CNN article was the exact one I saw, but it looks like a syndicated version. Thanks for digging it up. 

    A lot of the news I've seen is adding the caveat that they aren't sure if the people had some other unknown condition or were immune compromised. 

    The best offense is a good defense! My dd called me yesterday asking about symptoms she's having. I told her to go to student health, but they are notorious for being dismissive. 

  • Lemon Harris

    @Tiffany F. amen to that, lady.   I remember a couple years ago we all thought we were goners with the pig flu, and the bubonic plague and then the one over in Africa.   It's always something

  • Elena Meluso

    Washing your hands is all you can do n wear masks when out in public. What else can we do about it  

    unfamilar with tamiflu i thought that was over the counter

    flu is always risky always has been what i want to know is who were the people that passed did they have compromised immune systems already whats the the background info 

  • K8sMom2002

    Tiffany, good point about stress. And stress can have all sorts of impact on your health, so yes — do what you can do, and try not to stress over it. 

    Lemon Harris, very good point about the news — that's actually the definition of news — what is NEW and dramatic. So I like to think about things from a numbers/stats point of view. What's my actual risk? With asthma, it's a bit higher than the regular population, so I need to take it serious and to do what I can without going into stress mode.

    Elena, Tamiflu is a prescription drug that is an anti-viral medication and can help you if you are exposed to the flu. It doesn't cure it, but it can help reduce the symptoms and shorten the length. But it's not right for everyone, so you would need to talk to your doctor. 

    As for things you can do besides washing your hands and masks (and of course taking the flu shot)

    • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth — anywhere north of the chin is what my doc recommends.
    • stay away from sick people or places where sick people might be
      • ask your boss to encourage sick people to stay home
      • ask your kids' school to encourage sick people to stay home
      • ask your kids' teachers/daycare to let you know if flu hits your kids' classroom, especially if they have asthma
      • avoid the ER if you can — which means that you should avoid doing things that will help you end up in the ER
      • Give yourself some buffer space — wave instead of hug or shake hands, blow an air kiss from a safe distance instead of give a peck on the cheek
    • Disinfect your home by following the directions on safe-for-you cleaning products that are designed to kill the flu virus.
      • Wipe down:
        • light switches
        • door knobs
        • cabinet knobs
        • remotes
        • fridge handles
      • Keep a scoop in the ice-maker bucket in your fridge
      • Ask people who are sick NOT to get ice or food from the fridge
    • keep yourself healthy
      • eat right
      • sleep right
      • reduce your stress if possible
      • don't share food, utensils or personal items like toothbrushes.
  • Elena Meluso

    I wish i could avoid sick people and stay home 24-7-365 but got to pay my bills. I really dont appreciate when sick people go out in public im always avoiding hackers. I drive my hubby crazy with cleaning the house somehow we still get that dang nab stomach flu every year though despite my rituals.  Can u get tamiflu at walmart over the counter anyone know ?


  • K8sMom2002

    Tamiflu is not available over the counter. It's prescribed by a doctor to people who either have the flu or have been exposed to the flu — when my DD caught the flu in primary school, the doctor prescribed Tamiflu for my husband and myself, but not for her because it had gone past the time it would be useful.

    You had a question about what causes the flu deaths.

    Elena Meluso posted:

    flu is always risky always has been what i want to know is who were the people that passed did they have compromised immune systems already whats the the background info 

    I don't think there's one answer. From what I've read it could be several different things:

    • the body's immune response to the flu — it causes a lot of inflammation in the lungs and some people's lungs are just not able to take it.
    • the body's immune response to a bacterial infection that follows the flu — some people's immune system goes into overdrive. This is called sepsis, and it's the body's overwhelming response to a bacterial infection.

    Flu can cause serious issues in anyone, but the CDC says that most of the time, these complications can occur in the very young, the elderly and the immunocompromised — people who have immune systems that don't work as well as others or people who have other chronic health issues.

    The best thing is to do all you reasonably can to prevent the flu. And yeah, it would be nice if we could just stay away until it all blows over, but I know what it's like to have to pay bills.

    Edited to correct a typo and to clarify what I'd written.

  • LK

    Completely agree with turning off the news!  I watch just a little and even that is too much for me.  I read stories from reputable sources, or try to!

    My DH and I came up with a phrase to describe most news 'emotional sensationalism'.  They are trying to portray even simple things with a lot of emotion and sensationalize things to make people tune in and watch.

  • LK

    It's a good idea to get a new toothbrush when you are over being ill.  That way you are at least not possibly re-infecting yourself.  At least that's what a dentist told us once.

  • Paularose

    Please understand that I am definitely, definitely, definitely, not trying to offend anybody or get anybody angry at me but I do believe this is a serious strain of flu. And far more serious than of the other years. As we are all affected by allergies and Asthma it makes it even worse. And I do not believe that the newspapers the web or cable television and regular network television are over exaggerating.

  • Lemon Harris

    @Paularose  Nobody is denying it is serious but our question is short of standard procedure we all follow to keep us healthy and avoid flu (your hand washing, diet, exercise, etc etc etc) what can we all do about it?  Why worry?  If you are going to get it, you're going to get it.   I think thats all I had said in response.  Not angry at all.  Just know its out of my circle of control.  If something is totally out of your circle of control,  there is no use worrying.   

    Conversationally, it is very unfortunate.  I am very sad to hear this like I am manyof the outbreaks globally.  I will say a prayer for those affected and also pray my family isn't harmed. Besides that, I won't lose sleep over it because sadly the entire thing is out of my circle of control. 

  • K8sMom2002

    You guys both have good points: take it seriously (it needs to be, Paula Rose!), do whatever you can (good advice, Lemon Harris!) and try not to panic or stress or obsess over it.

    It's good to know that this is a season where flu is really hitting hard — because now we do know and we can be prepared. But there does come a point of "diminishing returns" when watching the news can stress me out. 

  • LK

    Someone told me that the only two things we have control over are our actions and our reactions.  In the case of the flu our actions may be all the suggestions listed above like washing hands frequently.  Being pro-active.  Our reactions may be how we deal with the news' reports.  My two cents' worth! 

  • Dar007

    It is scary what is out there. I see some bad cases. Just take care everyone. I hope it doesn't get much worse. I try not to listen to the news. 

  • Pljohns

    I would just like to hear that it's peaked but here, they are saying last week was worse than the previous one.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, man, yeah, me, too, Lynn — we keep hearing that the flu is really widespread in our state (Georgia). Thankfully we haven't heard of any shortage of flu shots like we have had in the past. 

    As far as flu "peaks," I think we can assume we've still got a few weeks to go, unfortunately. …

    The timing of flu is unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Most of the time  peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.

    Yesterday at the grocery store, I grabbed a wipe, and THEN grabbed a cart. And I'm trying to steer far, far away from folks I know to be sick. 

  • Pljohns

    I just talked to my pulmo and HE got the flu-but he's still at the hospital taking care of people-he said he looked like he was wearing a HAZMAT suit.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, my goodness! That poor man! I can't imagine trying to take care of people when you are sick with the flu!

    I remember back in college when my sister got the flu. My mom took her to our family doctor, an older gentleman who'd been taking care of us forever. Poor dear guy — my sister gave HIM the flu and he wound up in ICU and nearly died. He got better, thank goodness!

    He always laughed about it whenever he saw her and told her not to bring any more of that "college flu" back. 

  • Pljohns

    My last patient in yesterday saw me in my mask and was talking to me about it-said he lost a close friend last week to the flu-late 50 year old, excellent health and good physical condition-got sick on Sunday, went to a doc in the box and got antibiotics and tamiflu and got worse, presented to ER on Thursday in organ failure and died that night.  This is a no joke strain of flu.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, my, Lynn! That's horrible. 

    DD got to her college class today only to find that her American government professor had cancelled class again — he missed Monday, too. And yes, it is the flu that's laid him low. 

    I'm telling all my peeps to wash hands, wash hands, wash hands!

  • LK

    Oh, my goodness, Lynn!  When DH had the flu he said he was surprised at how quickly it hit him.  He said he wouldn't have known what to do if I wasn't here to care for him.  Makes me doubly glad I haven't gotten it!! 

  • Shea

    Im seriously thinking of cancellung our trip to Disneys Animal Kingdom because Im afraid of the flu. Im not sure if I should bc my son is looking forward to it.. But… Im scared. We can always go later after it calms down out there. My parents are raking us.. They know Im kinda a scaredy cat these days…. 

  • Shea

    I just called them and cancelled.. We are going to wait until this flu-thing that us everywhere calms down. My dad has a business trip anf had a free hotel, but we were going to drive up there and meet him for the day.. But he said we can all just drive up another time and he understood my fear of going to such a high traffic thing. So that was good. I already feel less stressed. 

  • Melanie Carver

    I have some work travel coming up and I'm not looking forward to the flights, crowds, etc. Last year when I did the same trip, I caught a nasty respiratory illness that stayed in my lungs for months. I didn't recover until summer.

    People may think I have an irrational fear of flu and illness, but when you know what it's like to have asthma + infection, you understand it.

    Other people pack toiletries, cosmetics, etc…my carryon is meds, wipes, hand sanitizer and masks.

    Stay safe, everyone~

  • K8sMom2002

    Ugh, ugh, ugh … my sister just told me that she tested positive for the flu – the A strain. She'd had the flu shot. 

    It hit her out of the blue — she was at my dad's with us yesterday and was feeling fine — maybe a little sneezy, but she has allergies, and things were beginning to bloom out. But she didn't seem sick to my eyes.

    She got home last night around 6 p.m., and it hit her. She lay down, felt awful, slept until 6 AM this morning, and then got up and struggled into work, thinking it was just a cold. (It's been really hard for teachers to get substitutes and she was supposed to be observed today.) 

    They took one look at her, sent her to the school nurse, and she had a fever — not a horrible one, but a fever. The nurse sent her to get swabbed, and sure enough, she was positive. 

    Doc says that it ought to go easier on her because she's had the flu shot. 

  • Pljohns

    Oh NO!!!  That means all of you were exposed to the flu.  ugh, ugh, ugh……hope no one else gets sick and hope your sister doesn't have a hard time and gets well fast.

  • Tiffany F.

    @K8sMom2002 I wonder if thats what I have then and my family got hit with.  We dubbed it a "cold" since my thoughts on the flu is bed-ridden mess…  but we did have our flu shots.  SO maybe it didn't hit us quite that hard.  I have wanted to sleep 12 hours a night, no joke.   So stuffy that I now have a sinus infection despite netti pot use (and usually never get sinus infections if I use my neti).  Going on week 2 of this nonsense.  I was starting to worry with how dadgum tired I have  been…. 

    I guess I really should go to Medexpress/doc.  It's ran its course in our house though, we are hoping we are on the tail end of it now once this sinus infection clears.

  • K8sMom2002

    Tiffany, sometimes you can wind up with secondary bacterial infections after a viral infection. So if you got better and then got worse, or if you've not gotten better at all, you might do well to check in with your doc. 

    Lynn, me, too! I'm worried about her because she lives alone.  I told her that I would be breaking my usual rule to not call people when they're sick because she doesn't have anyone to check on her.

    I'm worried about us because DD and I have asthma, and I'm worried about my dad and my stepmom because my dad has COPD and asthma, and both of them are older.

    We've ALL had our flu shots, so maybe the odds will be in our favor. My sister has been swimming in a sea of flu with her students … I was afraid she would come down with it. 

  • Megan Roberts

    Oh @K8sMom2002 sorry to hear your sister has got it — hoping you and your family didn't catch it from her while at your dad's!! Glad you all got your flu shots. 

    @Tiffany F. glad your household is on the recovery! Here is some info from the (one of three antivirals used to reduce severity/length of flu virus) and whether it would be useful to your family (ie, if they have asthma or are at risk for complications for other reasons). According to the CDC it works best when given within 48 hours of onset of symptoms though. Wishing you and your family back to health and energy soon!

  • Pljohns

    I don't blame you-I would be checking on her too.  You know, a few years back, DS got the flu and-now granted he obviously lived with us-but my PCP put me on tamiflu as soon as he was diagnosed.  She said with my asthma, she wasn't willing to take the chance of me coming down with it.  I never got it-I know the tamifly didn't keep me from getting it because that's not what it does, but might be worth checking on-

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn, I've debated on that. The last time we had the flu in our household was when DD was in primary school — poor kiddo came down with it, and our PCP put both my DH and me on Tamiflu. He said there was no way we had escaped being exposed.

    On the one hand, I definitely hugged her yesterday, AND she handled raw veggies and utensils that we all used. So I've probably been exposed.

    On the other, if I'm NOT exposed yet, maybe I don't want to brave a waiting room full of people with the flu. You'd like this, Lynn — she said EVERYONE was wearing masks in that waiting room. 

    Best possible scenario is that for me, the flu vaccine does what it's supposed to do. Just say big prayers for me and mine! I did what I was supposed to do, and we all checked with each other ahead of time before yesterday's dinner because no one wanted to share the flu with my dad (since he has both asthma and COPD.) 

  • K8sMom2002

    So … when I did a check-in for the family today, nobody except my sister has the flu. If we make it to Thursday, I think we're good, at least from that exposure.

    I tell you, I'm finding myself hyper-vigilant. Every sneeze, every twitchy sensation in my lungs, every cough, every ache and pain, every hot, tired feeling about the eyes … and I'm sure I'm coming down with it.  

    I asked my sister (who is hanging in there, bless her heart), and she said she really didn't feel any different at all until about 6 p.m. Sunday evening, and then she just felt exhausted. It was when she woke up the next morning that she felt her first "flu" symptoms.

    Still, even though she feels awful and she's got a worrisome cough, she's doing a lot better than I would have thought she would have. I'm thinking that the flu shot at least gave her some relief — and the Tamiflu anti-viral prescription from her doctor must be helping as well. I'm so glad she went on to the doctor instead of toughing it out like she usually does.

  • LK

    Cynthia, so relieved that no one else in your family came down with it!  Sounds like your sister is doing pretty well.  Whew!  My DH said the same thing about how quickly it hit him.  I would have to agree that getting the flu shot reduced the severity of his bout.

  • K8sMom2002

    The Flu Report of the Day: so far, so good — my sister is much better, and no one else seems to have the flu.

    My lungs are pretty twitchy. I'm hoping it's the weather and not the first signs of the flu!

    This weekend, we have a college tour to go on, and it just occurred to me that it will be a HUGE group of high school students from all over our region, plus we'll be on a college campus — perfect environment for catching the flu! I shall wash hands like you won't believe and make certain I touch nothing north of my chin! 

  • Pljohns

    Sounds like a good plan Cynthia-large groups of anyone right now sounds like a recipe for spreading the flu bug!

  • K8sMom2002

    Do I dare declare victory yet? Or would I be tempting fate? It's the Friday after being exposed to the flu on Sunday, and the

    I know that I'm heading to a high risk event Saturday (that college tour), but I'll do my best to steer clear (CDC says six feet) and keep my distance and wash my hands and avoid touching my face. I'm so glad I got a flu shot this year!

  • Pljohns

    WWAHHOOOO-I would declare victory-I felt the same way after i was in the ER for 5 hrs with all of the flu people.  never been so happy to hit that 4 day mark with no problems.  Hope your sister is doing better too-

  • K8sMom2002

    She IS! That was the shortest bout of flu I've ever seen! It's proof that getting a flu shot and heading to the doctor very quickly for Tamiflu (if it's appropriate for you) can make life much more bearable. 

    She says she's really tired still, but she's back at work. And she's very glad she had the flu shot. 

  • sonjnj

    A physician cousin recommends taking 2,000 mg of vitamin C along with lots of hand washing.  A nurse aide at my doctor's office recommended elderberry (hope I spelled this correctly).  My asthma doc says to wipe down surfaces and keep hands away from face.  Heard thoroughly washing hands with regular soap and water is effective.  Can't wait for the season to be over!

  • Pljohns

    I hear you-I think everyone is ready for the flu to go away!  We are taking extra vit C, adding OJ to tea to make a fruit tea, eating tons of oranges, washing hands, using had sanitizer and I've been wearing a mask for a month now and will keep wearing it until things settle down some.