What the Flu!

mik

So nine years in the game and I apparently knew nothing when it came to sick children. About the flu at least. With so many articles, research studies, Facebook posts and nightly local news stories flying around, I never really knew what to do when it came to the flu. Do we vaccinate, do we not? With having to take Malik to one scary trip to the Emergency Room I learned everything I never knew about the flu and more. Take it with a grain of salt, obviously consult your MD. This is my average mom on the mean streets of Detroit Lakes, MN understanding of it. Many times I walk in and out of the pediatricians office more confused than when I walk in. This time I had the pleasure of speaking to an amazing doctor who took quite a bit of time explaining all of this to me. Feel free to do your own research, as I did when I got home, but hopefully this gives you a rough idea.

Everyone has seen that picture of the doll with injections punctured all over it, with the labels of different immunizations from birth to five. Pretty intimidating, but so is that Polio so call me ignorant but I went ahead and signed up for all the vaccinations when both my children were born. I wasn’t trying to fight the system with absolutely no knowledge on vaccinations.

However, any immunization that wasn’t required, I tried to steer clear of. So yes, for 9 years and 5 years, both my children went without the flu vaccine and we did just fine. This year my worry started early. I heard that this year would be the worst flu season we would experience. Reports said that Australia had extremely high numbers and the US were soon to follow. Why do I bring up Australia? Well I learned that Australia uses the same vaccination as the US. With their flu season preceding ours we pull information and statistics to give us an idea of how our flu season will follow. Interestingly enough they said that the vaccine was only 10% effective. In addition to my doubt, I learned that the US uses the same vaccination as the Australians. Just like any other year I decided with that little amount of information, we would go without it.

After a trip to New York, followed closely by a trip to Austin, I found my self in bed with a temperature of 103 degrees and barely able to get out of bed. I wasn’t able to hold food down and I barely felt alive. Being that I was stubborn and avoided the trip to the clinic, when I finally went in I was treated for an upper respiratory, ear and sinus infection. This usually follows the flu as your body is trying flush it out of your system.

Unfortunately the following week as the temperature went down I had already passed it on to Malik. Within hours his temperature had spiked to 103 and he could barely keep his eyes open. We took him in to the emergency room and within the first 10 minutes with the doctor, after being poked and prodded, he was almost certain that Malik had the flu. To be sure he had the nurse perform the flu test. (Which by the way is probably the most horrific experience I myself have had to date in a doctors office. If you have never had one, consider yourself lucky. A long ear bud like gadget is stuck in to your nose and pushed all the way up, which almost feels as if it is between your eyebrows, until they can get enough substance to test it for the flu.) Well once that horror story was over the doctor informed us Malik did in fact have the flu and he would prescribe Tamiflu. (Brace yourself… this fun little prescription after insurance on a high deductible health plan is $250…)  This same doctor gave me the run down on how the flu works, the medication and the vaccination process. SO here goes it… I’ve watched a few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy so I’m practically qualified. JK. Once again take it with a grain of salt and do your homework as well.

There are viral and bacterial infections. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. The common cold would be viral and can not be treated by an antibiotic. Influenza or the flu is one of the only viral infections that is treated by physicians. I should probably rephrase that, because medication that is prescribed for the flu, like Tamiflu’s; purpose is to lessen the symptoms that come with the flu. With high fevers, chills, headaches, body aches and possible seizures being significantly  magnified with the flu, Tamiflu, lowers these symptoms. Here is the catch, it is most effective from 48 to 72 hours after symptoms appear. Being that I was already sick, I knew what we would be heading in to and I knew Malik would not be able to go through what I did for 10 days so I took him in right away. In most cases we would treat our children at home with the Tylenol and Motrin alternating combo, cool packs, Gatorade and chicken noodle soup. (So I have added a few items that helped us get through the flu with the medication this season. These are all items that I keep stocked at home at all times. Once again, none of these things will treat the flu itself, but comfort your child while the sickness runs its course.)

So, the flu shot… I was under the understanding that since the flu shot was only effective on 10% of users, there was no point in getting the flu shot. I knew that every year researchers picked a strand of the flu to combat and to create a vaccination. For the sake of time lets call it a “scientific guesstimate.” The vaccination would then fight this strand of the flu. Once again, with the little knowledge I had I believed we would be okay without it. Here is what I did not know… The flu can manipulate itself into so many different variations. Every year when the flu vaccine is received, your body learns to use that vaccine to protect against that strand, lowering the symptoms of the flu. Because each flu has similar characteristics the vaccine still protects your body to a certain extent against any form of the flu. Your body then records this vaccine and learns this way of fighting that specific strand of the flu. Researchers then alternate the different variations of the flu to create vaccines. So in other words if you have been getting the vaccine for 10 years, your body most likely remembers 10 variations of the flu,multiplying your chances of fighting off the flu. Tedious process right? Winter comes, get the flu shot, maybe get sick, struggle bus through it and do it all over again next year?

Well… FUN FACT! FUN FACT! Scientists have recently found a common gene in each of , check out the links below.

Flu ToolKit:

  1. NoseFrieda: get all the snot with out all the redness from 7 days of using tissues  https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/fridababy-nosefrida-reg-the-snotsucker-saline-kit/1061259324?skuId=61259324&mcid=PS_googlepla_nonbrand_beautywellness_online&product_id=61259324&adtype=pla&product_channel=online&adpos=1o1&creative=224129507250&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&mrkgadid=3245555321&mrkgcl=609&rkg_id=h-60f0d0409d523e4d592d16bf01c59306_t-1519357098&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5azznY672QIVxrjACh2H9gkvEAQYASABEgKKG_D_BwE
  2. Vick’s Vapor Stick: when you can’t smell a burning house standing above the flame https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/vicks-sinex-vapoinhaler/ID=prod6335341-product?ext=gooPLA_-_Health_Care&pla&adtype=pla&kpid=sku6279473&sst=aae2a332-1239-4c2e-bebb-636bd35c4d99
  3. Be Koool Soft Gel Packs:the days of running back and fourth to wet a towel are over  https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/be-koool-soft-gel-sheets-for-kids/ID=prod5438-product?ext=gooPLA_-_Health_Care&pla&adtype=pla&kpid=sku305438&sst=aae2a332-1239-4c2e-bebb-636bd35c4d99
  4. Little Remedies Sore Throat Lollies:Trick your kids into suckers to clear their throat  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Little-Remedies-Sore-Throat-Pops-10-CT/143784934?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227000000000&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=42423897272&wl4=pla-51320962143&wl5=9020174&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=143784934&wl13=&veh=sem
  5. Pedialyte Freezer Pops: Alternative to keeping them hydrated when Gatorade is out  https://www.target.com/p/pedialyte-freezer-pops-assorted-flavors/-/A-52925180?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Baby+Shopping&adgroup=SC_Baby&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9020174&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1JaQxY672QIVApJ-Ch3iiwjsEAkYASABEgK5D_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

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