Public Service Announcement: Influenza

What are the symptoms?

A number of symptoms are associated with the flu. The most obvious ones are headaches, a dry cough, and fever of a temperature in the region of 38 to 40 degrees centigrade. A good indication that one is suffering from flu, not merely a cold, is if the symptoms are of sudden onset, and thereafter over a number of hours one feels increasingly unwell.

Persons suffering from the flu may have a combination of some,or all of the following symptoms:

-Fever (with temperature in the region of 38 to 40 degrees centigrade).
– Runny nose and sore throat, usually accompanied by a dry, tickly cough.
– Aching pains in the muscles and joints.
– Severe headaches.
– Dry cough
– Chest pains.
– Lack of appetite.
– Inability to sleep at night – may feel cold and shivery, or hot and sweaty.
– Vomiting or diarrhoea.

Remedies: Rest, fluids, staying warm, paracetamol.

Symptoms of influenza usually persist for five to ten days. Fatigue and weakness may thereafter persist for three to five weeks. If fever returns after recovery has begun, it is a bad sign, and may indicate bacterial pneumonia.

Why, you might ask, am I talking about this?

Because last night I woke sweating among sheets sodden enough to wring water from them, weak in every fibre and with a sensation as though of having been punched below the floating rib. I’m presently lurching from “uncomfortably hot” to “weakly shivering,” and although my throat no longer feels entirely full of ground glass shards, it really doesn’t feel good, either. My nose produces snot like it’s going out of fashion, and the skin around my nostrils and upper lip is chapped and raw.

Yesterday I had an email from the college service telling me to come in for my cheap ‘flu vaccine. Too late for me. Too late – but not for you.

This sucks. Get the vaccine.

Hippocrates, Epidemics 4.23:
“Patients were shivering, nauseous, without appetite, relapsing, haemorrhagic, splenic – mostly painful on the left… Aristophon’s daughter was feverish on the third and fifth day. She was dry throughout for the most part, and her belly was upset. It stopped on the thirtieth day without a clear crisis.”

History is excellent for showing you how much worse things could be.