After speaking with medical professionals we know, it is now becoming clear that I may have had swine flu (Novel H1N1) over the last several weeks. My symptoms, duration, and severity have made this “highly likely.”
So I thought it might be helpful for you all to know what the experience is like. Not to scare you (seriously, it was not scary EVER), but just so you know and can take precautions if you or your family end up having it.
During the worst of my illness, I stayed home. Had I understood what I was carrying, I would have stayed home more, but I didn’t know – unfortunately, there is no sign waved in your face that says “you have swine flu!”
It began with heavy fatigue 4 or 5 weeks ago. It was in the thick of the hot weather here (over 100F), and we were madly packing and getting ready to move. While the fatigue was strange, I thought for the most part I was reacting to the heat and stress of moving. The fatigue got steadily worse, and then subsided for a couple of days. I also had some nausea toward the tail end of that fatigue.
Soon after the fatigue and nausea subsided, I had a sore throat for a couple of days and then had symptoms much like a bad cold that would not stop. That lasted two weeks, coming strong like a wave, and then lingering for some time in my lungs. I did have a fever, but it never got high enough to worry. Again there was some fatigue.
I had a productive cough – with quite a bit of fluid in my lungs – something I haven’t had since I really worked to contain my asthma four years ago. Had I not been managing my asthma with medications now, I believe I would have been much, much worse during this phase. As it was, I felt at the time it was not quite severe enough to go to the doctor.
As the coughing began to subside, the nausea returned on occasion and the symptoms moved to my intestines. It remained this way for a little under a week. I now am near the end of this phase, while the cough has all but gone away. During this time, I’ve eaten a lot of yogurt and cottage cheese to put good bacteria back into my body, drunk lots of water, eaten only basic things like grains fruit and vegetables, plus I’ve slept an awful lot.
I’m now nearing my normal self again.
All in all, it took a while to recover, but it was not in any way deadly for me. It was not terribly different than any other flu. Had I known, I would have stayed home so as not to infect others who may have chronic diseases that would put them more at risk. I feel bad about that. However, I did stay away from my grandfather and have not seen him for many weeks, I avoided public gatherings as much as possible, I was very careful to wash my hands after blowing my nose and coughing in public, and I took several other such precautions that I would have taken with any flu.
I am looking forward to having my energy back. We’ve almost finished unpacking from the move , but I haven’t been able to take that to the finish line due to fatigue. I have lost about five pounds – I needed to loose the weight, but I would MUCH rather have lost it by exercising ! So I hope to continue working toward 10,000 steps soon, and to continue to build our online community here.
If You Think You Might Have Swine Flu, What Should You Do?
Everyone’s symptoms will be somewhat different based on their own body’s reaction to illness. And again, there is no red flag that says “this is swine flu!”
If you do get sick, don’t panic. If you have a history of lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders, suppressed immune system – or if you are pregnant – make sure you see a doctor. Otherwise, stay home and rest, drink water, stay up on your nutrition, and pay attention to your body’s needs. Take special care of children and young adults if they get sick, and do not give them aspirin – it can lead to further complications. (Note: this is not official medical advice of course – please consult a doctor or nurse for any official advice, or if you have any doubts about your condition.)
The CDC recommends that people with influenza-like illness remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 F or 37.8C), or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. For more information, visit “Novel H1N1 (Swine Flu) And You.”
Also, from what I’ve learned from each of their sites, the CDC, NIH, WHO, and other health organizations are somewhat discouraging people without severe symptoms to come in to be tested for H1N1. Because there are so many cases now, labs want to preserve that capacity for those who are more severely ill. The only reason to know for sure is if you need treatment, and most people do recover fine without treatment. Of course, when in doubt, give your doctor a shout! Pick up the phone and call your doctor – it doesn’t hurt.
To learn more about seasonal influenza visit:
To learn more about H1N1 swine flu visit:
- CDC: “Novel H1N1 (Swine Flu) And You” or “Novel H1N1 Flu: Global Situation“
- WHO: “What is the New Influenza A(H1N1)?” or “Pandemic (H1N1) 2009″
- NIH: “H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)”
- One Green Generation: “How To Prepare For Swine Flu”
Returning To A Regular Schedule
Thank you all again for your patience. Assuming I continue on my current healthy trajectory, I am back to a normal posting schedule (5-6 days/week) as of today.
I appreciate your readership. Stay Healthy!