This Is What It's Like To Have The Flu

Cold and Flu season is here and for the first time in my life, I finally caught the dreaded Flu. It can be really hard to determine whether you have the Flu or Common Cold to most people, but once you’ve actually been diagnosed with it, it’s extremely easy to tell. I’m going to be talking about my experience with the Flu and some things you need to know. And yes, I’m doing a lot better after being diagnosed with the Flu a week ago.







Symptoms

In my previous post “How A Tow Truck Driver Almost Stole My Car” I was completely healthy. I had that experience THE DAY BEFORE I started showing severe Flu symptoms. It’s crazy just how fast and sudden the symptoms show up. The first symptom I noticed the night before I knew I was sick was extreme chills. These chills were so severe and so strong that I described it to my family like it was going down to my bones. It was almost painful how much I was shivering and I’ve never felt that cold in a warm setting before. I went to bed and woke up the next morning with a fever. My fever gradually climbed from low grade to bad (99 degrees Fahrenheit to 102 degrees Fahrenheit). During this time, I literally felt like I was on fire. Laying in bed under the blankets, I could feel the heat radiating off of my body and it honestly felt like I was in an oven. I would take frequent naps, and each time I would wake up drenched in sweat. I also had a sore throat, runny and stuffy nose, headache, nausea, reduced appetite, cough and body aches. The cough and body ache combination was horrible. As you can imagine, each time I coughed, I felt like dying. The body aches also made my skin very sensitive. At one point, just touching my arms and legs was painful (it hurt to shower and apply lotion afterwards). The one symptom I had and still have just as bad in the beginning is fatigue. I’m wondering when this symptom will go away but I’m glad most of the other symptoms have disappeared. Full symptom list below:

  • Chills

  • Fever

  • Body Aches

  • Nausea

  • Reduced Appetite

  • Runny and stuffy nose

  • Cough (with phlegm)

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Sore Throat

  • Extreme sweating

  • Forgetfulness

Diagnosis

After having a fever for 3 days, I went to my primary care doctor. She ended up testing me directly for the Flu by doing a nasal swab sample. Basically, she stuck a huge q-tip up my nose and we waited for about 10 minutes for the results to come back. The test doesn’t hurt but it does have a funny/strong smell.

Treatment

I was prescribed Tamiflu and was told to take 2 pills a day until the pack was finished. I didn’t really take any medicine at home as I was trying my best to let my body fight it off naturally by letting my fever run its course. I did use nasal sprays to help me breathe better and to help with my nosebleeds. Drinking lots of fluids, in my case, apple juice and ginger ale also helped me. Full treatment list below:

  • Lots of sleep

  • Drinking lots of fluids to help fight fever and sweats

  • Tamiflu prescription to reduce Flu duration

  • Nasal Sprays (pictures below)

  • Vicks Vaporizer (humidifier) to help with breathing and nosebleeds

  • Ice cream and applesauce to help fight fever and sweats (anything cold will help)






This helped prevent further nosebleeds and helped soothe my dry burning nose

This helped prevent further nosebleeds and helped soothe my dry burning nose

This really helped relieve my stuffy nose. Don’t use for too long!

This really helped relieve my stuffy nose. Don’t use for too long!

Tamiflu is prescribed by a doctor and helps shorten Flu duration

Tamiflu is prescribed by a doctor and helps shorten Flu duration



Complications

The only unexpected thing I experienced was extreme nosebleeds. I mean blood pouring down the back of my throat causing me to choke, pouring out of my nose, and large frequent blood clots. It got so bad and frequent that I ended up going to the hospital to make sure nothing more serious was happening. I was told it was happening because my nasal membranes were very irritated and dry and they told me to use Afrin Nasal Spray to help prevent further bleeds. I only ended up using it once and my nosebleeds completely stopped.

Some quick tips:

  • Visit your doctor if you have a fever that lasts 3 days or longer

  • Don’t use decongestant nasal sprays for longer than 3 days or you risk becoming dependent on them to breathe better.

  • To help create steam faster in your vaporizer, add a pinch of salt

  • Isolate yourself away from your family to prevent them from getting sick. Ask your doctor about prescribing your family members Tamiflu as well. My family was told to take 1 pill a day instead of 2 like me

  • Get a flu shot. I personally don’t get one but I’ll think it over next year

  • Sleep elevated. I ended up sleeping in the living room in a recliner for a few days to help breathe better. I was also suffering from really bad chest congestion (phlegm) that for whatever reason, was irritated when I was lying flat (it triggered lots of coughing)

  • For those who struggle with swallowing pills, you can open the Tamiflu capsules and sprinkle the powder on applesauce, pudding, yogurt, etc

For more information about the Flu, click the button below. Be sure to always wash your hands before touching your face and please be considerate and cough/sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.