Do you want to stand out in the crowd?
Tired of being invisible?
Wanna be the center of attention with your friends and even strangers?
I have just the answer to gaining popularity!
Show up to work, send your kid to school or better yet, shop for groceries with a hacky, barky, snotty, feverish flushed cheeks, runny nose aura about you! And for good measure, make sure to have a cough capable of heaving out a lung or two, because that will be sure to get EVERYONE’S attention.
People!! We are in the throws of Influenza season and of course, as is always the case with media, it’s the worst year ever for the flu! It may or it may not be, who’s to say, and how do we really know? Every year we seem to get the same ‘chicken little’ rhetoric but seriously, if you or a loved one is sick, stay home. It’s the only sensible way to stop the spread of viruses including Influenza. I promise you, there are better ways to gain popularity than spreading disease.
Let’s discuss some influenza facts…because smart people are popular people!
- Influenza is not the pukes! If you are puking don’t tell people you have the Flu. You have a stomach bug or people love to blame the last restaurant they ate at when they get the pukes but whatever, it’s not Influenza. A nuisance and uncomfortable and requires more buckets than you have laying around…at times, and increased fluids and many trips to the bathroom, but it’s still not the flu.
- Influenza is a respiratory virus that infects the nose, the throat and sometimes the lungs and can range from mild to severe. It just depends on how good your luck is. The symptoms are cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, sore muscles, headaches, fatigue and you may or may not have a fever.
- There is more than one strain of influenza. The Center for Disease Control has creatively named each strain- A. B. C. and D. Let me break it down for you. Seasonal Influenza are basically strains A and B…the kind we are suffering from currently and the ones they focus the ever powerful Influenza vaccine that has about a 60% success rate give or take, depending on how smart the CDC was feeling that year. Strains A and B can cause pandemics and we are experiencing that right now! Strain C is a very mild form of the flu and doesn’t typically spread as easily. Finally, strain D basically just shows up in cows so if you are not a cow then you don’t even need to worry about this. If you have cattle tendencies, like having 9 stomachs or chew your cud, or have hoofed feet, you may want to consult your vet, doctor.
There are several sub-sets within each strain but for this article, we aren’t going to go there.
- The flu spreads by the tiny droplets of viral matter that spews from your sneezes or when you talk or leave your tissue laying around your desk. A person with the flu can infect someone else from day one to day 5 or even day 7 of symptoms. (Incidentally, if this is how you want to be popular, this is for sure when you should wander around Walmart or your favorite grocery store, coughing and sneezing and sharing in your flu delight). This is just an estimate of how contagious the flu is.
- The flu is not always going to stop at a little respiratory discomfort. Some of the complications include…but are not limited to ear infections, sinus infections, pneumonia and can make chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or even diabetes worse! This is when the flu gets scary and can escalate to a serious health crisis. If you have a poor immune system, if you are pregnant, are over age 65, have chronic health problems or are a young child, you need to get your doctor on board sooner than later. You will want to be aggressive in treating these symptoms.
- Diagnosing the flu is not any easier than actually having the flu. There are bacterial respiratory infections that can appear to be the flu and the symptoms are similar. Your best bet is to see your healthcare provider. Do not leave this up to Google or WebMD though I sure they have snippets of truth to be found, you need a living breathing, medical degree to get you started on treatment.
- Which brings me to my next point…there are medications available to treat influenza. The anti virals out there are usually pretty effective and can shorten the duration of the flu significantly. Here’s a tip, when you go to the doctor’s office, indulge in the masks, sanitizer and tissues that are available at no charge to you! This goes back to the idea that there are easier ways to get attention than coughing your little feverish head off, in the waiting room. That mask is going to look darling on your face and much better than the cold, glaring eyes that will pierce your soul.
- Finally, the time to start fighting the flu isn’t when you get the flu. You should be maintaining good strong, gut health long before flu season. Did you know that your gut is one of the major components to your immune system? If you don’t believe me, Google it. Also, practice good solid hand washing techniques. Singing the ABC song isn’t a bad idea while you wash your hands, you know like kindergarten teachers tell the Littles. Sing loud, sing proud, sing away those germs. Throw back some Vitamin C every day, and up your probiotics. Don’t feel like you have to hang around sick people because you don’t have to. Take advantage of a little alone time when your best friend or nearest stranger are sick.
One last thought! If you are sick and at the first sign of being sick, call in sick. Consider this your time to shine with a run of Netflix movies that would make any movie critic blush. How often do you get sent to your room? Please, these are the goals of adulthood, indulge. If you can’t do it when you have the flu, when can you?