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Saturday, December 08, 2007

How do you know if you have the flu?

I figure we can offer you a few practical tips as we enter the flu season, as well as some interesting history about the flu.

How do you know if you have the flu?
A lot of cold viruses are mistaken for the flu. Some people don't believe in the flu virus because they say they were vaccinated but still got the flu. Rusty has actually just seen his first real case of the flu. (There's a test for the flu virus.) Flu season actually usually starts around January, or even as late as February, like last year. We may be seeing an early season this year.
Flu symptoms are high fever (Over 101 degrees), achiness, extreme runny nose, and cough. I had an achy, cold like-virus recently, but no fever, so it definitely wasn't the flu. Rusty says that the flu often shows up suddenly, like you feel fine, and then twelve hours later, you are miserable with those symptoms.

What should you do if you think you have the flu?
Would it be wrong to put our office number here? Who cares! (979) 776-5191.
You should call your doctor and if he thinks you have the flu, you can get on Tamiflu. This shortens the duration and intensity of the flu considerably! But you must get on it in the first 48 hours of the virus.

Is it too late to get my flu shot?
There may still be places that have shots in stock. We are out of adult vaccinations. We still have a few kids' vaccinations left. They are approved for kids ages 6-36 months. We vaccinated ourselves and our kids. We obviously run the risk of high exposure in this family because of Rusty's job, and my kids actually play in a doctor's office when we eat lunch with Daddy.

Is the flu dangerous?
It can be. But I think the best reason to vaccinate or protect your family from the flu is we never know when a particularly nasty or deadly strain of the flu could occur. I believe the strain is always changing.
Here's for the history lesson. Do you know about the flu epidemic of 1918? For some reason, it's not a well-known piece of history. Rusty says that it has been lost in history because it coincided the end of WWI. Read these few factual paragraphs I got off of this website. You will be amazed. It is the greatest epidemic of all time. I saw a documentary on it years ago, and it was heart-breaking. Most families lost at least 1 family member, or even multiple family members died within days of each other because of the flu virus. Check this out.

World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history.

The plague emerged in two phases. In late spring of 1918, the first phase, known as the "three-day fever," appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported. Victims recovered after a few days. When the disease surfaced again that fall, it was far more severe. Scientists, doctors, and health officials could not identify this disease which was striking so fast and so viciously, eluding treatment and defying control. Some victims died within hours of their first symptoms. Others succumbed after a few days; their lungs filled with fluid and they suffocated to death.

The plague did not discriminate. It was rampant in urban and rural areas, from the densely populated East coast to the remotest parts of Alaska. Young adults, usually unaffected by these types of infectious diseases, were among the hardest hit groups along with the elderly and young children. The flu afflicted over 25 percent of the U.S. population. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years.

It is an oddity of history that the influenza epidemic of 1918 has been overlooked in the teaching of American history. Documentation of the disease is ample, as shown in the records selected from the holdings of the National Archives regional archives. Exhibiting these documents helps the epidemic take its rightful place as a major disaster in world history.


The Kramer Family said...

Thanks for the tips.

I do have a question for 'The Amazing Dr. Bacak'. I heard recently on the news that the flu vaccine was one of the only vaccines that was still out on the market and still contained mercury in them.

I believe they used mercury in lots of vaccines at one time as the preservative. But, since the increasing rate of autism and unknown health hazards, it was removed from the majority of vaccines.....except the flu (per news anchor lady).

I have been wondering this for quite a while and would LOVE for Dr. B to shed some light on this subject.

He would know better than me for sure. As a result of hearing this info, it has left me somewhat confused and at odds with vaccines in general.

Maybe you could do a whole series or something on vaccines for us 'common folk'.

Love you guys!

Hendrick Family said...

I WANT the flu.


I do.

A week in bed, with high fevers, sleeping non-stop, so sick Aaron has to take vacation time.

Sign me up!

If a flu person comes to the office, call me because I want them to cough in my face.

Just don't let me die.

I'm not dieing of the flu. That's a real dumb way to go. If I do die of the flu, at my funeral, it's your job to make up another reason why I died...a more romantic one.



Garratts said...

GET THE FLU SHOT. If you don't and then you do get the flu it is so much worse than if you would've gotten it.

Ask Mike! Last year,no flu shot and yep he got it and it was 20 times worse than what I had.

He had very high fever, achiness to where he felt like someone beat him up all over his body. And he was green! I swear!

And we always get the flu shot because of our encounters with RSV when Bryce was little.

I would rather get a little ole shot anyday than see my little one in the hospital for 5 days.

Ok I will get off of my soap box now.

Jennifer Bacak said...

I hear you Ashley! I think I told you Justus had RSV too, and it is an unforgettable experience when your baby struggles for every breath. Terrible!

Rusty is checking into the mercury thing. We'll get back with you.

I think we will do more posts on shots, because this is such relevant info. for so many of us, and Rusty has great thoughts and insight on it.

Thanks for your comments, friends!

Is anyone else blown away by the epidemic of 1918? 50 million people!!! That's amazing!

Anonymous said...

The epidemic has officially freaked me out. 50 million deaths - crazy!!! So, are you saying I pretty much NEED to get the flu shot? I just have seen so many people get the shot, and then get the flu...is that coincidence? Miss you guys!

Amy Seay said...

I had actually heard about that epidemic. I don't know where though. Probably PBS. I love PBS...so informative. Hope you all stay well during sick season. I feel blessed to live in a time and place where we have vaccines, etc.

LD said...

I can't believe you guys are already seeing the flu! That's crazy. I just finished my ER rotation and while we haven't seen any flu yet, all of Galveston went under attack of a nasty stomach virus. I experienced it myself, along with half of the ER physicians, all of the ER nurses, and a good portion of the students. I recovered just in time for Thanksgiving, only to pick up some upper respiratory junk the next week. 9 days and a z-pack later, I'm just now starting to recover. If I get the flu this year, I'm asking for a new immune system.