Virus vs. the Flu

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Andy, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Diva was diagnosed with a sinus infection. She has had body aches so I am sure she had the "flu" also. Now, we must realize that when someone says "Flu" (including me) it indicates flu-like symptoms. The medical field has a very different way of looking at this - it is NOT the flu but a virus in many many many cases.

    I saw difficult child's daycare provider today - haven't seen her in a long time. We caught up on difficult child and Diva. When I mentioned to her that Diva was very sick this week, she stated (and she is much more knowledgeable about these things than I am) that there is a nasty VIRUS going around that MIMICS the flu. This virus looks like the flu however usually turns into bronchitis, sinus infections, croup, whatever. That fits exactly with what Diva went through.

    She also stated that those who get the virus will be more susceptible to the real swine (sorry H1N1 for those medically correct) flu because their bodies have gotten so run down from the virus and the flu will make them even sicker. So those of you who are now sick, if you do not have the swine flu, be extra extra extra careful these next few months and through the winter - YOU can not afford to get the swine flu. It will be super nasty and if you have the virus like Diva, I know you will not want to be worse - nasty stuff!

    So, when to call the doctor? I would say by day 4 if there is no improvement CALL and talk to a nurse. Let them decide if you are at the point to be seen. However, if you have the virus that turns into croup, bronchitis, sinus infections, you will need to be seen ASAP to deal with that. So, if by day 2 or 3 you feel that something besides the flu is happening, call the doctor ASAP and for sure by day 4 if you are unable to control a fever.

    Everyone step up the hand cleansing - hand santitizers, encourage the kids to wash hands more often, teach kids how to sneeze into their elbow, ect. If you don't feel well, stay home and pamper yourself with lots of fluids and sleep. If you are not sure, go ahead and call a nurse or some people have an insurance help line or public health if you work with them.

    I heard it is hitting a population that is known to be healthier than others (like my 19 yr old diva) - those you would not expect to catch it so easily. Keep a close eyes on the infants - especially the newest ones.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Isn't the flu a virus? I'm finding it hard to get more worked up about the H1N1 virus than I do about other enfluenzas. The flu is bad, and for people with weakened immune systems the flu is worse than for healthier people. I see the problem with H1N1 as being that there isn't a vaccine readily available yet, and that there is more chance for it to spread. But realistically, and maybe I'm wrong, the flu is the flu, is the flu. Isn't it? Or am I missing something?

    I think that one really good thing about the heightened awareness is that everyone really is paying attention to washing their hands and covering their mouths, and (hopefully) staying home or keeping sick kids home instead of "toughing it out" and spreading all of the nasty germs that are normally shared this time of year.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    What most people (including me) refer to as the flu (the symptoms of body aches, chills, fever, ect) the doctors would scoff at and say, "That is not the flu". Diva had ALL the symptoms of the "flu" and doctor told her it was not the flu. Maybe the Flu is a type of virus but it is not the virus that is running strong in our area.

    Hopefully the heightened awareness of handwashing and cough covering will be long enough to make it a habit for everyone. It amazes me how many people do not keep their hands washed! I very seldom get sick and I credit that to constant hand washing.

    But I am definitely with you, "The Flu is the Flu!" If you have the symptoms, I call it the flu regardless of what the docs want to sort it out as. If you are sick, you are sick.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    If your child has a high fever with associated cough, I would encourage a check with the pediatrician. There is a nasal swab test that can determine whether your child does indeed have influenza (the "flu"). Early treatment with an antiviral (within 48 hours) can shorten the duration and severity of the illness. Especially for children with suppressed immunity and asthma, it is important to have it identified and treated if at all possible.

    And yes, Witz, the flu is a virus. The reason people are getting worked up about the H1N1 influenza is because there isn't a vaccine (yet -- maybe in mid-October) and it appeared early on that it was hitting younger, healthier populations particularly hard and in summer months. Camps in Maine had lots and lots of H1N1 cases over the past summer, for example.

    Andy, the only way your docs could know for sure what they were dealing with was if they tested it. Did your doctor test Diva for influenza?
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    SW & Andy, I was thinking about this last night as I was getting ready for bed. I can kind of get it why they're worked up about the H1N1 as there is no vaccine yet. Usually by this time of year a lot of people would already be vaccinated. So, since no one is vaccinated yet, when H1N1 starts to spread, there will be a much greater chance for it to spread. But from what I am understanding, if you get it, it's the flu, and it's just as bad as any other flu. But you're more likely to get it for now, because no one has been vaccinated.
  6. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Since the H1N1 profile is to affect younger people including children at a higher frequency than adults, the big concern is that children will rapidly spread the illness to other children and to all their adults.

    This is part of the rationale behind pushing the H1N1 vaccine for children really hard. If fewer children get it, fewer adults will get it from the kids and fewer children will get it through school contacts.
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Yes, Diva was given the test for influenza and it came back negative even though she already had all the symptoms for 4 days when she was tested.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am frustrated with this. The antivirals work if you catch them within the first 48 hours. This is especially important if you have a weakened immune system. BUT the docs want you to wait 7 - 10 days to contact them. Period.

    So how are we to get the dang antiviral medications??? My doctor's nurse will not even take a message to her if you are in the first day or two of a virus. Not even with a weakened immune system.

    Anyway, I am glad Duckie is now medicated. Usually medications are only given unless you go into the secondary infection, like bronchitis, croup or whatever.

    For the handwashing, remember your abc's and old macdonald. For handwashing to be effective you must wash for 20 seconds. That is one run through of the abc's or old macdonald with one animal. It is an approximation, of course, but it does help you remember to wash longer.

    also use disinfecting wipes on commonly touched surfaces - doorknobs, drawer pulls, refrigerator door handles, the phone - numbers and handset, faucet handles (esp in the bathroom), etc...

    Also be SURE to put the lid down on the toilet seat before you flush. An open lid lets water spray up over a 5 foot radius. Usually this includes the toothbrushes.

    Safeguard you toothbrushes by putting a paper cup upside down over the bristles. It is cheaper than one of those UV light thingies. Also run toothbrushes through the dishwasher every week and replace every other month.

    Just some tips our hospital hands out at the drive by shooting.

    (we get free drive by flu and pneumonia shots in our town).
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Susie, you need a new doctor. If our pediatrician suspects influenza, he will see my kids for same day appointments and administer the nasal swab test. If it's positive, he'll rx an antiviral.