Oct 28, 2009

H1N1 (We Won)

We all came down with a "flu-like illness" a couple of weeks ago. I missed a Sunday of church and had a fever for about four days and a horrible chest cough for a few days after, but I think my biggest anguish was mental. Guys, don't google swine flu. They have all sorts of scary, wonderful statistics that will drive you mad with worry. I seriously wondered to myself if I were to not survive, what my husband would have to do. Which is silly.

Pregnant women are a high-risk group, though, and it's looking like a scary percentage of them (something like 3-6 % is what I've read) end up hospitalized with subsequent pneumonia infections, and some have died. Everything I've read and done, though, has pointed me toward treating yourself right and you won't get horribly awfully ill.

Here's what we did:

Because it was too late for Tamiflu by the time we realized we had it, we treated ourselves with some natural remedies and avoided sugars, dairies, and refined flours, all which increase mucous production/and or lower the immune system's response range. The natural remedies that seemed to help the best were:

1) Garlic/cayenne capsules
2) Emergen-C!!! Seriously, a life-saver. I downed so much of that stuff, I was worried I might give myself kidney stones or something, but it seemed to work soooo well. My whole family guzzled it. You can buy a fam-size pack at Sam's for around 20 bucks, which is much cheaper than you can buy it at the normal grocery or health food store. I'm guessing Costco likely also carries it.
3) Humidifier. Be careful to clean it out well, because it can also harbor and spread bacteria if it's not properly cleaned. I put Young Living brand Theives oil in the humidifier and it really seemed to soothe the cough a bit.
5) Peppermint oil on the chest/neck/throat and Olba's Pastille lozenges, to relieve the awful pain of coughing endlessly when your throat is raw as a pulverized steak.
6) Heating pad and/or socks filled with rice and cinnamon/cloves, heated up in the oven at around 250 for half an hour or so. Put on the chest/throat.
7) Sitting UP in bed. honestly... when I was lying down it felt like the mucous pooled more, and that coughing was much less productive.
8) Onion soup. Fry some sliced onions in some oil or butter ( a LOT of onions, like four or five whole onions) and then stew them in vegetable or chicken broth for about 30 minutes more. I added shredded parmesan cheese sprinkles even though it was dairy and therefore, mucous producing... because then it was like french onion soup at a good restaurant.
8) An over-the-counter expectorant, such as Mucinex. Really helped loosen the gross chest crud and helped with coughing it up (though honestly, it was torture for a bit there... endless coughing.)

For my kids, I kept tabs on their temperatures and administered Tylenol if they went above 103 or so.

The stages of the illness seemed to go as follows:

1) Like the beginning of a nomral, bad cold accompanied by the achiness of fever and an actual fever, and a feeling of weak helplessness like there's no way you can get out of bed, even to put away your dirty socks.

2) The chest cough really starts to set in the next day or day after. Also some nasal congestion, for us. Focus on this symptom, because it is the one that tends to make people go downhill, fast, if not addressed.

3) The fever tends to last for a while! It's amazing. I treated it with peppermint oil, which helped sometimes, and Tylenol, which helped when nothing else did.

4) The cough is still with us. And the hoarseness will continue beyond the time when you feel capable of getting out of bed... so when you go out in public people will look at you like you're typhoid mary. Don't worry about it... most sources say you're not contagious 48 hrs after your fever is gone. But still, I brought hand sanitizer everywhere we went and made my kids wash before we went inside any buildings, just to be good citizens.

So we survived! And the way statistics are looking right now, almost everyone will get this flu within the next couple months... so here's what we learned. Hope others can benefit from it. Biggest piece of advice... try not to freak out. Everything I've read said the symptoms to keep an eye on are struggling for breath, wheezing when breathing... bascially the symptoms of pneumonia. Which is what you watch for with any cold/flu, especially in your small kids. :)


Sherpa said...

Glad to hear you're pretty much over it.

I have to sleep sitting up when I have a cold and for several weeks after.

One trick I've learned to sleep when my lungs flare up is ibprofuen before I go to bed. It's mild enough that I don't mind taking it, and it seems to relax your chest muscles so that you don't hack as much.

Mucinex is a saver-as long as you drink a lot while using it.

Hot Showers and baths help a lot too.

Sam's mom said...

Glad you are all on the mend. Cannot imagine how miserable it must have been, esp when PG.
In our house, we really like Eucalyptus oil rubbed on the chest, back & soles of feet. It really helps w/ coughs and raspy breathing. Both for kids and adults.

Nathan and Rebecca Scott said...

Wow. So, do you know for sure it was H1N1? I have heard from some people and health care workers that some hospitals and other such places aren't actually even testing to make sure what sort of flu things are, and that some places are just calling everything "swine flu" whether it actually is or not. And there are a lot of other flu bugs out there besides just swine flu.

But whatever flu you did have, that is just not fun. Glad you guys survived it!

NoSurfGirl said...

Here in (the county where I live,) 90% of influenza cases have been H1N1, comfirmed by testing. And two other families in our ward had confirmed cases... and I think we got it at church.

Also the symptoms are pretty much exact to all the descriptions. I've had flus before... this one was a doozy! No, we haven't been confirmed, but all things considered... pretty dang sure it was swine flu ! :)

Putz said...

oh me oh my, almost everyone will get it, even the ones with a pillow over their head with the door shut, not seeing anyone for three years, even those ppoepple will get it???????????

Tracy said...

I'm wondering how many of your suggestions you followed through with you little one? My two year old is coming down with some symptoms and some of the things you suggested are not recommended for little ones. Did you still give yours emergen-c and tea, which ones did you give? I'm trying not to panic, but the fear is rising... Help!

NoSurfGirl said...

The baby I just gave half-doses of the emergen-C, watched his fever carefully, dosed him with infant Tylenol when it got too high, and made sure he had TONS of liquids and had him sleep next to me (we were sick at the same time) in the room with the theives-humidifier. he seemed to do OK. Just keep an ear out for wheezing and rattling breath, and watch to see if his breathing is becoming labored. Honestly, I'm not a dr... if you're worried... please talk to your pediatrician :) I'm SURE your ped will address all your concerns, I'm sure he or she has had plenty of parents with these same concerns lately.

Lisa said...

I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.