Published Jul 11, 2009
I started having flu like symptoms on Monday and by Thursday I still had a high fever, unbearable body aches and chills so I decided to go in. My swab was positive for Influenza A, so they sent it on to the county health dept. to determine if it's swine. Is it true that swine is the only influenza A virus circulating now? Can I assume it was swine? It is now Friday night and I feel much better, luckily for me I didn't have any of the horrible respiratory complications. My fear is for my kids now. I have an 11, 9 and 4 year old at home. I am just a pre-nursing student so I would love some advice. I read through the thread of swine fatalities with no underlying medical issues, esp with young kids and I am terrified. Obviously I know that if any of them start having flu symptoms, off to the doctor we go for the anti-viral medication. Other than camp out in front of the hospital I'm not sure what else besides the medication I can do to ensure if they do get sick it will end favorably, and does medicating ensure that? Nurses, what would you do in my shoes to protect your kids if they start getting sick?
thanks in advance for your help...
Never assume it is anything. If they had a positive on anything, they would have contacted you by now. Sometimes the flu bug is just a flu bug! The DCD is very careful about letting people and Dr. know about results of tests. You would have know if it had been a bad strain of the flu.
According to the CDC Weekly Surveillance Report,
Over 97% of all subtyped influenza A viruses being reported to CDC were novel influenza A (H1N1) viruses.
No matter what influenza you had, if your children start showing signs of illness I'd get them to the Doctor for treatment.
Also from the CDC:
Emergency Warning Signs
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
Darci, the vast majority of people that come down with this flu are fine once the symptoms abate. It is true that seasonal flu in the northern hemisphere is mostly absent therefore, it is likely that if you have a type A flu, it is going to be swine flu. You felt miserable for a period of time as with any flu, and then you started feeling better. This is how it is for most. You then returned to a state of homeostasis but with valuable antibodies that will most likely protect you from a more serious re-ocurrence. I expect that your children will be fine as well. Your strain of flu appears to have been mild, and that is wonderful news.
Looking at many types of information about all kinds of influenza, I've been all over the internet, reading, and analyzing this data. There are many sites that are collecting the stories of this pandemic. It is an historic event, unfolding each day, and we are part of it. Each site looks at this info in different ways, and attempts to make some sense of it. An historian, or a scientist could reap the benefit of what is being noted about this pandemic. Some agency out there, likely is gathering info in this very way, via computer.
I have seen sites that track cases by locality, and deaths in the same way. Some track by age, and sex. Some track what the symptoms are, and what body systems are involved. All of this will help to determine how influenza attacks, what it does, and who is affected. At this time, I have not come across another site that specifically tracks the adverse outcome of pregnant cases, or false negative cases with fatal outcomes, or the cases of previously healthy people who died. I would however, guess that someone at WHO and CDC might be doing this.
We are all witnesses as well as actors in this event. Most of us will be fine, as you now are. There will be some small portion of people that will suffer severe outcomes. This is the nature of influenza, and of this particular virus. Looking at this data will be helpful in trying to determine why. Somewhere out there, someone is analyzing the viral isolates of some of these cases, and looking at that genetic material, asking why some of these people died, and it will be obvious by looking at that viral information. Knowing what specific part of the virus actually causes what manifests as Tamiflu resistance, or the ability to infect a mammal at the temperature of the human nose in winter, or allows the virus to be more transmissible is really mportant. Drugs will be developed someday because we know some of this. I would like to think that there are other therapies that may be helpful as well.
I feel for you as you worry about your kids. You are in the position of knowing what could happen, and what to look out for. You are more informed than the vast majority of the public because of your awareness. The down side is that knowing can cause some concern. But, it is still better than not knowing.
Reading the stories of some of the fatal cases, especially the earliest ones, it is easy to imagine that the outcomes might have been different if their families or their healthcare providers had more timely information about the interaction of pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy, obesity or asthma, and influenza infection with this particular virus. If the rapid flu tests were more reliable, and if the disease process was recognized as influenza early on, some of them might have survived. As clinicians gather and share information about what works when treating these cases, and what makes things worse, there is a better chance for the outcome of the future cases.
There will be some that insist that sharing this kind of information is overreacting and going to cause unnecessary concern. What I note however, is that most people won't even bother to read it or hear it about this. It certainly is not as much fun as reality TV is likely to be. Only a very few will be able to take this kind of info in because as we all know, unpleasant realities that happen to other people just are not not part of their daily lives. They cannot relate. But, we are all living on the same planet together with this virus. We are all going to be touched by it in some way. For most, it will be in a very minor way, and that is a very good thing.
Think of it this way. Lots of us drive cars. The more drivers there are, and the more frequently we drive, the likelihood of having an accident increases. We don't stop driving, but we do try to be more careful, and educate ourselves about how to be safe drivers. Maybe we even learn what to do in certain situations to minimize the damage. Most of us will have only minor injuries to ourselves and our autos. Sometimes, it is more serious, but still, most of us are going to be fine. We are still out there driving even after we hit a deer, and almost wrecked the car, a little more cautious perhaps but still in the game.
I will just say one thing more. Even though CDC and WHO and even our govt agencies involved in the US pandemic response are largely doing wonderful work, they sometimes have to be prodded to pay attention to inconvenient information. This helps keep them honest. There is some research that is being closely held. Even if we were not in the middle of a pandemic which is gathering speed as we move closer to the fall, this would be unethical.
I wish you the best. Your kids will most likely be fine because you were. Stop worrying.
Nearly everyone who has swine flu will recover fine. In our state, 3 children have died of H1N1 but they all had other medical issues, very sad. H1N1 swept through my town - I think that's what 3 of my 4 children and I came down with, but we didn't test, because it was just a regular flu - we've been through worse.
Just remember, you are the mother and you are a lot less likely to get your children sick than they would be to get you sick, because you are careful about covering your coughs and hand-washing, unlike the share-my-virus-mommy little shedders;)
Try not to worry, and hope you're feeling better soon.
I had to respond to this because it is not accurate. My doctor gave me a standard flu test, it was positive for Influenza type A. At that point they send it on to the county health department for further testing to determine if it's swine which can take 7-10 days for results. He informed me I will be contacted when the results from the county are in. Sometimes these tests can take time and results are not always immediate. I don't believe there is a "standard" procedure in every dr's office or even every county.
Is there a regular flu in the summer? I thought there was a seasonal flu that attacked in the cooler months, ie fall and winter, but not a seasonal summer flu. Is this true? (Or are you, Darci, in the southern hemisphere?)
Most places are no longer testing for Influenza A H1N1 - if a patient has flu-like symptoms it is pretty safe to assume it is swine flu. As someone above posted, 97% of flu cases right now are swine. Also - it does not appear to be a bad strain (although I know people feel horrid when they have it).
Had it, survived it just fine. My oldest brought it home. Husband and other kids didn't catch it.
Drank lots of fluids, stayed in bed and felt lousy for 16 days. I recovered.
Everyone who had died from it in my area have had underlying health issues that would have killed them within the next six months.
Assuming H1N1 is a death sentence is overkill.
Had it, survived it just fine. My oldest brought it home. Husband and other kids didn't catch it.Drank lots of fluids, stayed in bed and felt lousy for 16 days. I recovered.Everyone who had died from it in my area have had underlying health issues that would have killed them within the next six months. Assuming H1N1 is a death sentence is overkill.
It's interesting to read anectodal info from people who have been sick. You say that you were infected by your son which is a likely scenario for many on this board also. You felt lousy for 16 days. I am wondering how many days you remained in bed. I gather that you were not on Tamiflu. You made a full recovery. Probably you were not tested for H1N1 since you were not a severe case.
I am guessing that no one in your family has any of the very common risk factors that could casue otherwise healthy people that would normally recover to have a fatal outcome such as asthma or diabetes, and you are not pregnant.
Could you tell us what kind of facility you are employed with, and what kind of unit do you work on? Also what is the sick leave policy at your workplace? How many days off did you have to take? Sick leave policies at some facilities are very difficult. My facility counts each day that you are out as a separate call out. With influenza, it is known that people shed virus for up to 7 days after symptoms are gone, and so they can infect others during that time period which is a problem.
It's also interesting that two family members did not show s/s. It is very possible that they were infected if they were exposed, but asymptomatic and afebrile. There are cases where this has happened. Doctors were mystified by the cases in Mexico that were not febrile. Not a bad thing as this would mean likely immunity in the fall.
Thanks for sharing.
I want to correct myself on how long you could be contagious.
Referring to seasonal flu, and these are just averages:
Spread by virus-infected droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air, the flu is contagious. People infected with the flu are contagious from up to 3 days before they feel sick if they are infected until their symptoms have resolved (usually about 1 week for adults, but can be up to 2 weeks for young kids).
So, if symptoms last longer, it could mean that you are contagious longer.
Spent four days in bed, don't really recall much about those days, just fluids and going to the toilet.
I'm employed in an acute care facility, surgical unit. I was out for six shifts. My employer did not ask for a sick note because I reported in on time, and when my manager spoke to me the phrase that stuck out was "you sound awful, stay away!) So, I was out of commission for a total of 16 days.
I chose not to go to the Doctor because my guy was off on vacation and his replacement is someone I have absolutely no faith in.
Here is a link to someone's experience with Tamiflu
The Tamiflu more than likely wouldn't have worked for me as I'd been experiencing sore muscles for around a week and feeling lousy before the fever, chills, sneezing, and sore throat hit. Sore muscles are an occupational hazard on my unit.
Currently, my health authority is authorizing seven days, unexplained, when an employee contracts flu symptoms. Notices are up if visitors are experiencing symtoms to return home. It's reached the point where you don't have to have your illness confirmed by a GP
The two members who didn't develop it are both in the military and have been vaccinated for every darned thing, I doubt they'd catch rabies if a mad dog bit them
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