My Asthma Kid and Her H1N1
Yes, it’s the swine flu.
Last Friday I took my daughter to the doctor who, once she heard how sick I’ve been and listened to AG’s hacking cough, administered a flu test. Now, this wasn’t the H1N1 test specifically. As far as I can tell, no one’s giving those anymore except to patients in the hospital. The pediatrician used a rapid-response test for influenza A because H1N1 is the only strain of influenza A going around right now. When patients test positive for flu type A, as AG did, doctors are something like 99% sure they have H1N1.
Having gone through the virus myself, I concur. Not that my guess bears any medical or scientific weight, at all.
No, I didn’t take Tamiflu.
I chose to suffer in silence instead.
Well maybe not in silence, as my family would gladly attest, but not in the doctor’s waiting room. Never at any point during my week in bed did I feel I wouldn’t improve, even if that rate of improvement creeped forward slowly over the hours. Since I don’t suffer from any health problems that would put me at high risk for secondary infections like pneumonia, I’d rather leave the Tamiflu for the patients who really need it, like my kid. (Not that any doctor would’ve prescribed it for me, anyway, because I really didn’t need it to recover.)
Yes, AG is on Tamiflu.
She took her first dose on Friday afternoon. Even if I hadn’t wanted the prescription, the pediatrician preferred the idea of my kid on a drug that could shorten her illness from the very start, reducing the amount of time her lungs would have to start flailing around and devolve into pneumonia, vs. the specter of AG toughing the symptoms out and later ending up on oral steroids (or worse) for lung inflammation.
No, the Steadfast Sidekick is not sick, too.
Hard to believe, huh? My house actually works perfectly in a quarantine situation, and we’ve managed to keep my 7 year-old away from me at first, and now her sister.
Yes, H1N1 is bad, but it’s
no worse not that much worse than the seasonal flu.
At least, that’s been our experience.
Okay, except the lingering cough. That was worse. I originally wrote this post on AG’s fourth day of illness, having no idea how long the kid would hack away afterwards. She took around 5-6 days to completely recover from actual flu symptoms, and the cough lingered somewhere between 7-9 days after that.
Here’s how it played out for me:
Day 1: Severe exhaustion, aching muscles, and moderate fever come on suddenly
Day 2: Exhausted, achy, feverish
Day 3: Fever reduced, exhaustion the same
Day 4: Fatigue reduced, fever gone and apparently traded for severe head congestion and subsequent frequent coughing
Day 5: Tired but not exhausted, congested and coughing, somewhat mobile
Day 6: Mostly mobile but still coughing and easily tired
Check out the difference between that and AG’s course of illness below:
Day 1: Coughing, exhausted, feverish
Day 2: Same
Day 3: Fever mostly gone, somewhat tired and achy, coughing worsens
Day 4: (Today) Fever completely gone, severe coughing, peak flow wavering between green and yellow
A few obvious differences are at work here. For one, my kid’s been hacking away worse than me and from the very beginning. That’s the ol’ asthma speaking, of course. Her peak flow hasn’t dipped down into red, but if this bronchial cough doesn’t ease up or gets worse, I fear she’ll end up needing prednisone.
On the other hand, AG’s actual flu symptoms are much milder than mine were. I’m guessing that hiking at 10,000 feet on a cool windy day, as I was right before I came down with this flu a week ago, probably didn’t help me.
Finally, the Tamiflu has helped beat this virus down for AG, and thank God. As bad as her asthma coughing is right now, at least she doesn’t have the fever and muscle aches to suffer through as well. If not for that cough keeping her awake and the round-the-clock inhaler treatments, she’d probably feel fine.
Yes, I found the (tiny) silver lining on the swine flu cloud.
I guess AG and I no longer need the H1N1 vaccination, right? The Steadfast Sidekick, as you might imagine, does not like this turn of events in which she has to have a shot her sister now gets to skip.
All the asthma and H1N1 reading fun you could ever hope to have, right here.