I have the flu…please chill out.
Welcome Fall, welcome beautiful foliage, welcome… flu season.
No one wants the flu for themselves or their loved ones (or even unloved ones) but can we all just all get over ourselves and also accept that getting seasonally sick is a part of life and the majority of us come out completely unscathed by the “friendly neighborhood influenza” ? ! ?
Because the alternative to accepting this reality is tentatively navigating the next few months in mortal fear of the next sneeze, cough or friendly smile on the bus passing us those dreaded flu germs and…
- making us miss work
- making us lay on the couch with no energy for anything but Netflix
- making our kids sick and miss school
- making us need other people for help while we’re sick
- making us take off time from busy and lay staring at the ceiling contemplating life
- making us live in isolation while we recover
- and of course, making us feel like total crap.
Yes, yes, yes. All horrible, terrible, no good, very bad things, correct? Okay not all of them. Okay but worth dreading and living in fear of?? Yes?
I submit to you, my friend, a big fat no.
Here are the real reasons to be concerned during the flu, and when to seek medical attention (lifted straight from WebMD):
Call or seek emergency services if:
- You are having trouble breathing, or you feel very short of breath.
- You have a severe headacheor stiff neck and are confused or having trouble staying awake.
Call your doctor if:
- You have an extremely high fever.
- Your fever lasts for longer than 3 days.
- Your child is 3 months of age or younger and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
- You are finding it harder and harder to breathe.
- Wheezing develops.
- New pain develops or pain localizes to one area, such as an ear, the throat, the chest, or the sinuses.
- Symptoms do not go away, even with home treatment.
- Symptoms become more severe or frequent.
— — -(end WebMD quote)
Otherwise, please freakin’ stay home. And please don’t pressure other people to go to a medical facility spreading their contagious germs all over that place full of vulnerable, immune-compromised individuals when they just have the run of the mill flu. (Notice how it even says “call your doctor” not “go right away!”?)
I am coming off of nearly 2 weeks worth of flu symptoms (first week didn’t count because I was care giving and not really resting). After I got past the “I might die” phase of exhaustion and discomfort, I must say, I didn’t die and I was okay. Hooray! I laid on the couch and watched the PBS channel’s brilliant Planet Earth and sipped soup and took naps propped up on the couch.
And I would just like say to the collective public — please just choose to chill out about the flu. Do you know anyone who has died from it? (I know the CDC talks about those numbers, but I have yet to actually know someone or hear of anyone who knew anyone — not to minimize anyones loss, but I’m just saying, the risk is so incredibly low that we need to stop acting like its actually a high risk.)
Okay, cool. Now that we’ve covered the downsides I think we need to cut everybody some slack and let them be sick. Our bodies are doing their job by recognizing the invaders and fighting them off, burning those little bastards out with fever. Our bodies come out stronger on the other side, as our immune system now recognizes that strand of flu and will not be invaded by it again this season.
Maybe our inner life has even had a chance to recalibrate and come back stronger, clearer and more creative.
Sure we may miss work and loose money and have to sit at home with sick kids and all the drama, but I would submit that we are missing out on so many other moments of quality living throughout our beautiful Fall and cozy (bitter cold) Winter if we choose to live in major fear of the flu.
New plan: scrap the fear and embrace life, the good the bad and the ugly.
Lets cut everyone else some slack when they are sick.
Simply shrug it off when so-and-so can’t come to work because they got that seasonal bug. Maybe send them some flowers, or a gift card for some food. Don’t hound anyone as to when they’re getting better, or if they’ve been to the doctor (because now you’re educated and know that doesn’t help in most cases, and only spreads germs).
Maybe you could even share some of this wisdom and help make the world a calmer, more nurturing place for all humans, sick and well alike.