I'm not quite ready to come back yet, but I wanted to take a few minutes to post my version of a Public Service Announcement. As many of you already know, I've been away from blogging due to illness. However, what you may not know is that the illness is H1N1. Yep, the Swine Flu.
I can honestly say that I've never felt so terrible in my life. I had heard that for most people, H1N1 is no worse than the regular seasonal flu. I guess I'm not most people. After 15 days, I'm only now beginning to feel slightly human. I was unable to get vaccinated because our area ran out of vaccine months ago. I understand that it has recently become available again, but it's too late for me. It's not too late for you, though. If the vaccine is available in your area and you haven't gotten it yet, I beg you to drop what you're doing and take your family to get vaccinated.
If you ignore my advice and decide to develop your immunity by getting the H1N1 flu, you may have the same experience I did. It starts with a dry, scratchy throat that rapidly develops into a cough. By the end of day one, the coughing is almost non stop. You won't be able to complete a sentence or sleep for more than 5 minutes at a time without coughing. The dry cough will morph into a combination sinus/chest congestion gagging cough. Your sinuses will go into overdrive and you will be blowing you nose every second that you aren't coughing. You will run a slight fever and have constant chills. Every inch of your body will ache. You will lose your appetite and struggle to eat more than a bite or two of food per day. If you are able to sleep at all, you will only be able to do so by sitting upright. Lying down will leave you coughing and gagging. You will lose your voice. By the third or fourth day, you will experience fatigue so severe that walking from one room to the next will leave you exhausted. The fatigue may also be accompanied with feeling light headed or dizzy. Your doctor and your local health department will likely advise you to treat your symptoms with over the counter decongestants and ibuprofen and seek medical attention only if you experience trouble breathing (although you may benefit from Tamiflu if you are diagnosed in the earliest stages of H1N1). Lastly, the congestion may also effect your ears, making it temporarily difficult to hear.
If you do happen to come down with this nasty flu, I can tell you a few of the things that helped me feel somewhat better. Sudafed (or the generic equivalent) helped my sinus congestion quite a bit. I tried Mucinex for the chest congestion, the jury is still out on whether that really did much for me. Nyquil seemed to work the first few nights that I took it, but after that it seemed to have the reverse effect and left me wide awake instead of putting me to sleep. Ibuprofen definitely helped with the fever and achiness. Last night I decided to try the much criticized approach of putting Vicks VapoRub on my feet before bed. I can't explain why it works, but it does. I slept soundly for almost 4 hours before waking up coughing (it was time for another dose of sinus meds). That is the longest continuous sleep I've had in nearly two weeks. I wish I had tried it sooner.
So please, take it from me, if you haven't been vaccinated, do so if at all possible. You don't want to put yourself or your family through this terrible illness if you don't have to. I did everything you're supposed to do by frequently washing my hands, using hand sanitizer, etc. and I still managed to get it.
I hope you're all enjoying the new year, I look forward to catching up with you soon.