I’m sorry to report that my daughter seems to have had the dreaded H1N1 flu. Well, at least I think it was the fearsome, extra scary flu. I didn’t have her tested because they’re just not testing for it here anymore. Weird, huh? Apparently, if you get sick or your child(ren) get sick, and you have a fever, sore throat, cough and runny nose, everyone assumes you have H1N1. Really? Yes. Whether it’s a normal cold or another virus, health officials will all tell you the same thing: “It’s probably H1N1, so we’re just going to say it’s H1N1.”
I talked to our pediatrician, checked their website, checked our county’s health website, checked the CDC’s website and all of them told me the same thing. Keep her hydrated, give her Tylenol for fever, limit her contact with others, wash my hands frequently and make sure everyone, patient and housemates alike, get lots of rest. I was instructed to bring her to the doctor or hospital only if she had trouble breathing or turned blue. Yikes! Thank goodness that didn’t happen! I made the mistake of telling her she would go to the doctor if her lips or nail beds turned blue. After that, she spent quite a bit of time alternating between looking in the mirror at her lips or staring at her fingernails. Note to self: don’t tell the kids scary stuff about their health anymore!
My poor little girl was a very good patient. Her fever peaked at 103, but she remained fairly cheerful and not too demanding. I set up the infirmary in our master bedroom. She had a bedtray with her ever-present Propel, a rotating array of tempting snacks (including popsicles), a mug of hot tea, berry flavored throat lozenges and, of course, the tv remote. She spent many quality hours with her laptop and we watched (and re-watched) all her favorite television shows, back-to-back. I think it was a little like heaven to her, even though she wasn’t feeling well.
If I were to give out any advice to anyone else with sick kids it would be this: don’t panic. H1N1 sounds so scary, but in researching the facts, I found that it’s potential to be fatal isn’t higher than other seasonal flu varieties that come and go. Of course, it should be taken seriously, but try not to freak out. Keep a good eye on your little patient. Make well sure they stay hydrated, as dehydration is one of the scariest aspects and can make their health really spiral downward. Keep them comfortable, let them stare at the tv or computer if that makes them happy. Remember, this too, shall pass (read – they won’t be home forever and will soon be well enough to go back to school so you can get back to your normal routine!)