In 2009 myself and my three eldest daughters all contracted the extremely dangerous H1N1 virus – otherwise known as the Swine Flu.
The symptoms were immediate – starting with an extremely sore throat, followed quickly by a soaring high temperature, widespread body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing and congested head, nose and ears. Honestly, I was scared for my children, and myself. It came on so quickly, was extremely aggressive and no amount of over the counter medications seemed to help.
Every year new strains of flu arise across the world – ALL can be as dangerous as the swine flu.
I am writing this post to plead, yes plead, with people to not go to work or send children to school if they or their child experience any symptoms that could be similar to that of the flu.
There are thousands of people with compromised immune systems – this includes not just those with serious illnesses, such as cancer, but also pregnant women and new babies. While the “healthy” population may recover from the flu, many others won’t.
THE FLU KILLS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERY SINGLE YEAR.
Would you like to be responsible for the loss of the life of another because you did not keep yourself or your child away from the public if you had had the flu?
When we got the Swine Flu I took every precaution to prevent anyone else getting it.
I rang my GP immediately. We were swabbed and the results came back as positive for the flu. I rang the school to inform them – and the next day the principal made a decision to shut the school down to prevent risk of infection for all other students.
This was the right thing to do.
I then went about ensuring no-one else would get sick and tried everything to get us all better.
- I text everyone and told them to stay away.
- I set up our sitting room like a bedroom and moved all of us into it. Staying downstairs meant I could help prevent my husband from getting sick as we needed somebody well enough in the house to keep it going. He did not come near us. After work he would go to the shops, pharmacy etc. and dropped off the bags in the hall. He did the laundry every night and went upstairs afterwards. Yes, I was tired and unwell and the help would have been great but this was the right thing to do – he never got the flu.
- Being in the sitting room meant I was near all my children at the same time and near the kitchen where all the medications, basins (for vomiting), food and water was. It just meant I didn’t have to go up and down stairs to get what I needed.
- I opened the windows in our house every day to let fresh air in.
- We had to go to our GP every second day as two of my children had compromised immune systems and needed their lungs checked to ensure they didn’t get pneumonia. We sat in the car outside the GP office until the receptionist waved us in – this ensured others in the waiting room wouldn’t get sick.
- I used antibacterial agent on everything, all of the time, to help get rid of the virus from the house.
- I washed the bed linen every day in 90 degrees water.
- I burnt used tissue papers in the fire.
- I ensured myself and my children coughed into our elbows.
- I used a fan to help bring down the soaring high temperatures, and used cold baby wipes to put on their heads and under their arms.
- I kept a medication diary to ensure I gave the right medications to the right child, at the right time.
- I kept the water in the fridge to help cool down their temperatures and soothe their sore throats. I made them drink water at every chance I could.
- I woke the children to stay on top of their medications to keep their temperature down.
- I had to go to the hospital as I ended up getting pneumonia and I wore a face mask to prevent the spread.
These are only a few of the precautions I took.
Believe me, if you get the flu you will know it is very different to a head cold or any other bugs out there.
Please don’t use excuses for sending your child to school or going to work if you have symptoms of the flu.
You can get a letter from your GP if you’re worried about social protection getting involved if your child is missing school. Your employer can not fire you if you present with a sick certificate.
Schools should send letters home to parents informing them of same and with information on how to practice safe hygiene.
This is not about wrapping children in “cotton wool” – the Flu is a serious illness and can kill people.
We are all responsible.
Do your part.
Symptoms of Flu
- High temperature
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Congested head, nose, throat, ears
If you have the flu please ensure you rest, drink plenty of fluids, use appropriate over the counter medications safely and ensure you practice good hygiene such as washing hands, disposing of used tissues immediately and coughing into your elbows. If you are concerned about your symptoms visit your GP or A&E but warn them in advance of your condition and wear a mask over your face to prevent the risk of spread.