Sunday, January 27, 2008

Florida Flu

Photo right: a 3-D model of the flu virus

I caught the flu from someone, somewhere last weekend. Maybe they didn't know they had the flu. Or, maybe they were just beginning to feel bad. I dunno ...
The only place I went was Wal-Mart, with my husband on Saturday afternoon. I didn't hug or kiss anyone since I didn't see anyone I knew. Why, I didn't even shake hands with anyone. But, by Sunday afternoon, I was down for the count. Having NOT had the flu since 1997, I was completely caught by suprise. I laid on the sofa Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, taking Motrin for the body aches and headache and moaning and groaning about feeling so awful. My 3-day weekend for MLK day went away. It was "sick time" for this old girl. When I was finally able to get on the computer again, I thought I would look it up and see what this flu crap is all about. Here's what I found: The flu is a respiratory illness caused by infection of the Influenza virus which belongs to the Orthomyxoviridae family. Infected individuals usually experience a rapid onset of flu symptoms which typically include: muscle aches, high fever, head ache, chills, fatigue, dry cough and runny/stuffy nose. Symptoms begin within 48 hours of infection and generally occur suddenly; recovery from the primary infection may take up to two weeks. Flu complications can involve secondary infections such as life-threatening bacterial pneumonia or pneumonia caused by the Influenza virus itself. Reports estimate that annually five to twenty percent of the population of the United States becomes infected with the flu with over 35,000 deaths related to complications each year.
I had no clue how bad it is to get the flu. And, that little thing about pneumonia scares me. I did have pneumonia in 2004, over the long Thanksgiving weekend and I learned that it leaves damage on your lungs that never goes away. Pret-ty scary stuff ...
My timing for becoming ill seems ironic, doesn't it? Why can't I be sick Monday through Friday? Oh, no. Not me. I get a break from the everyday, run-as-fast-as-you-can rat race of a job I love and what do I do? Yard work? Nope. Catch up on my laundry? Nah. Clear my always overflowing in box? Not on your life!
Thus far in 2008, I have managed to acquire food poisoning for the New Year and flu for Martin Luther King's birthday. I wonder what February holds for me... President's Day is a "legal" holiday. Will this be the long dreaded bad cold? Or worse? Stay tuned!

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