Here we are in March, and influenza is still with us. Like many but not all Americans, I had my flu shot this year, and I highly recommend it to everyone unless your doctor says otherwise. (Certain allergies, immune deficient diseases, or other circumstances may dictate you should not have a shot.) However, despite taking that step, avoiding the coughing and sneezing brigade, and washing and disinfecting my hands after every greeting, I got the flu.
How does one differentiate the flu from a mere cold? Colds are the most common human illness and are caused by rhinoviruses—“rhino” refers to your nose, which tends to turn a rather Rudolph-like red when you are so infected. The condition causes a mild, brief fever, coughing, and sneezing; and that red nose runs like a leaky faucet.
On the other hand, when the influenza virus takes up residence, a fever with chills and shivers, muscle aches, headache, and general cruddiness will set in. While other symptoms may intrude, one feels generally unwell. Given that the majority of folks reading this are men, in my opinion there is such a thing as “man flu.” Women are immunologically more robust than us so tend to get more moderate doses of the flu, but sadly, more nasty immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
If you feel symptoms like those described above, consider the following actions:
And do not fly again until you are fully recovered. Finally, put a note in your logbook reminder section to get a flu shot next fall, and wash your hands after sneezing. Please!