We’ve all been hearing the hype about the recent Swine Flu (H1N1). What we hear most about are the deaths and hospitalizations. Yes they’re scary. I remember when I had my unplanned C-section and was given a consent form to sign listing the mortality rates, it was terrifying! Instead, I focused on all the mother’s who had given birth and NOT died. Perhaps we need to do the same for those afflicted with the H1N1 virus.
There are many people who have had the flu and survived. There are people who have been exposed and not gotten sick.
You’re probably wondering what prompted this post.
Yesterday, I received an email from the superintendent of our school district. It explained the average attendance across the school district is at 98% and if it should fall below 75%, they would consider the option of closing schools.
The Superintendent of Schools went on to say:
The H1N1 flu has received a lot of attention in the media and, therefore, we felt that it was important to tell you we are keeping track of the numbers of student absences by school and by district. We want to thank you for keeping your children home when they have flu symptoms and for reporting your child’s illness when they do stay home. We realize it is flu season and in accord with health officials, we will be reporting numbers of students with flu symptoms to the Oakland County Health Department. However, we will not be sending home a letter each time we receive notice of a confirmed case. To date, we do not have any physician-confirmed cases.
To date, we do not have any physician-confirmed cases.
This statement interested me. Why? Not two days ago I faxed in a doctor’s note to my son’s school explaining he would be missing the entire week because, in her professional opinion, he “most likely” had H1N1.
Clearly it is not a confirmed case, just a suspected one. What makes the statement interesting is that while I had my son in her office, the doctor said they do not complete diagnostic testing to determine if it’s H1N1, unless the person is hospitalized or dead. Hmmm. So what that means to me is there can’t be any truly confirmed cases unless there is a fatality or hospitalization.
So saying there aren’t any confirmed cases in our school district is a bit of a misrepresentation when the only cases that can be confirmed are the extreme ones.
Wouldn’t you also like to hear about the people who had the swine flu and recovered?
My son had a fever that fluctuated between 99 and 103.6 for nearly a week, he’s now developed a cough but according to the doctor once his fever is gone for 24 hours, he can go back to school. He’s been fever free for 3 days at this point, so he’ll be back in school on Monday. I’m keeping an eye on that cough to be sure it doesn’t develop into pneumonia.
The suspected incubation period is 1-7 days but more likely 1-4 days according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hopefully, that means my son has not passed the flu onto any other family members – including me. Any parent who has taken care of a sick child knows it’s next to impossible not to be exposed to the illness even when precautions are taken.
Regardless, I’d rather look upon this H1N1 flu experience with positivity. My son now has the antibodies in his system to fight any future viruses – perhaps ones in which there won’t be a helpful vaccine available. There’s a saying that could apply to this situation:
“That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
If your children – or you – come down with the flu, keep a watchful eye, drink lots of fluids, and be on the look out for the emergency warning signs. Most of all, understand that most people are recovering just as they have from any other types of flu.