The flu epidemic in this country is so awful right now that if you or your family hasn't already been hit, odds are good that you know someone who has. It's everywhere, people -- and the worst part is we still have a couple months or more before spring arrives and hopefully gives us some much needed relief from this monster.
And I can tell you first hand that the flu is, in fact, a monster -- because I've had it, and my poor son has had it twice.
Yes, I said twice. In case you haven't heard, there are two flu strains floating around out there -- Type A and Type B.
After the holidays, we both came down with Type A, and yesterday, the poor little guy tested positive for Type B, so it's a little bit like Groundhog Day up in here right now. (And not in a good way.)
Based on my experience, I can honestly tell you that both strains of the flu are just as awful as everyone says they are -- if not much worse. If you unfortunately wind up with either one, prepare to be absolutely miserable. The flu is debilitating. It's exhausting. And the high fever it brings along with it is pretty darn terrifying.
But if you or your family happens to be exposed to it or start showing signs -- don't panic, because you will get through it. I promise. Here are six tips for what to do if anyone in your house gets it, and some advice on how to deal with it.
- Go to the doctor at the first sign of fever -- Both flu strains came with a very high fever for us, upwards of almost 106. And while the A strain also came with cold-like symptoms, the B strain was just the fever, a tiny bit of a sniffle, and a little vomiting. There was no sore throat, ear pain, cough, or anything that signaled an infection, which probably stops some flu sufferers from heading to the doctor right away. Don't mess around -- it can't hurt to get tested.
- Get the Tamiflu -- This has made a dramatic difference for us, as Tamiflu shortens the duration of the illness. But the catch is that it has to be taken within two days of the onset of flu symptoms, which is another reason you want to get to the doctor as soon as the fever or other symptoms appear.
- Monitor the fever constantly -- While my fever lingered at around 102, my son's went up and down between 101 and almost 106 both times, sometimes spiking upwards over the course of 30 minutes or so. High fevers are super scary, and dehydrating, so you want to make sure to keep them under control as best you can.
- Lukewarm baths work wonders -- I don't know why I never knew about this little trick before, but drawing a lukewarm bath for someone with an insane fever brings it down considerably almost immediately. Granted, it won't keep it down forever, but it's a huge help when you're panicking in the middle of the night.
- Be smart if you've been exposed -- This is a no-brainer, but if you've been around someone who has the flu or if you think you've been exposed, doing simple preventative measures like washing your hands and not touching your eyes or face are even more essential. Yes, it's kind of hard when the sick person in question is a family member, but try and be mindful of it even when touching household surfaces, etc.
- Rest, and stay home -- I can't stress this one enough. Just because you have the flu doesn't mean you need to share the love. (The "misery loves company" concept is way overrated.) Stay home. Sleep a lot. Rest like crazy. And for the love of Pete, keep your kids home from school until all of their symptoms are gone. (Other parents will thank you.)
Has the flu hit your family yet? Do you have any other tips for getting through it?
Image via BobPetUK/Flickr