Achoo the Flu?

I came home from a whirlwind 72 hours away from home. I met lots of nice people, ate some delicious food, saw the sights of the city, and slept less than is entirely prudent. Then it's on to the laundry and all the other tasks that have piled up in my absence. I feel like I lost some of the wind in my sails. Surely it's just jet lag and maybe a little mild dehydration. I make myself a nice hot cup of tea and head to bed early. I find myself scrolling through social media the next morning. I spot a post from one of the nice new acquaintances I met saying they got home from the doctor and tested positive for Influenza.

Do I have the flu?!

I do what I assume most asthmatics would do in this situation: Panic! So I haven't been feeling all that great the last few days. However, I also wasn't feeling terrible, I'd made it to work and a few errands. I'd done more than just lay in bed/on the couch sleeping all day like I recall doing last time I had the flu. I then moved on to rationalizing: got the flu shot this season. Hopefully, the scientist made a vaccine that covered the strain of flu my new friend got.

Anti-virals for flu?

Next came some panic Googling. What did Dr. Google think of an antiviral like Tamiflu? Should I be calling up my actual doctor to try to get an appointment before the window of opportunity had passed to get an antiviral and give myself a better chance at not getting sick? My search lead me to a systematic review of the studies to date on Tamiflu and Relenza. What can I say I find peer reviewed evidence comforting? The review said that the medications are ineffective in preventing person to person transmission of the disease, hospitalization, or pneumonia.1 Taking them provides some symptom relief and shortens the duration of sickness by about half a day.1 Finding this out put me at ease that I didn't need to make a rushed appointment with my doctor. There wasn't a strong evidence to convince me I needed to ask for the medication.
Making it past the initial butterflies in my stomach moment of finding out I'd been exposed to the flu I decided to take a wait and see approach. I would get plenty of sleep and treat my body with the respect I should give it all the time.

Yes, I was seeing some difficulty in completing my "normal" daily activities. To be clear my daily activities regularly include taking the stairs to the 5th floor and 8 or more miles of bicycling with cargo. Yes, I was running at 75% well and not my usual self. However, I was reluctant to admit I was actually sick. This time the wait and see approach worked out fine. After several more days of taking care of myself and copious quantities of sleep, I had bounced back to my usual self. I'm not sure that this was the "right" decision but it worked out and kept me off of medications with questionable effectiveness. Have you had a flu scare recently? Were you lucky enough to dodge getting sick?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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