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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Epidemic

The flu has been terrible around here this year. There are two strains floating around, both very nasty, and the middle school where I work is getting hit hard. One of the nurses told us that out of 900 students, we have 112 confirmed cases so far! It's gotten so bad that DHEC is monitoring the situation at all the local schools, including ours. We're on the verge of having to close for a day or two so they can come in and do a major disinfection of the building. One elementary school is already doing it. 

The two hospitals in Florence are overwhelmed, too. A nurse (who came to pick up her sick son's assignments from school) told me the one where she works has over a hundred patients admitted with serious complications from flu. A local newspaper reported that there have been 46 deaths from flu in South Carolina this month. A coworker of mine left early today to meet her daughter at one of the Urgent Care clinics, where there was a 2 hour wait and nurses handing out face masks. 

In addition to the flu at our school, strep throat and a stomach virus have been making the rounds. A few unlucky kids got flu and strep at the same time. Industrial size boxes of disinfectant spray and cans of Lysol are everywhere, with teachers and office staff alike compulsively wiping everything down, all day long, including telephones, keyboards, computer mice, and door handles. Earlier this week there were two afternoons where I started to feel achy and tired, and had to come home and lie down. Both times I thought "Here it comes" but so far, I seem to be okay. I never actually started running a fever and today I feel totally normal. I sure hope I've managed to fight it off. I haven't had the flu in almost 20 years, and I'd like to keep it that way.

It did occur to me that if I did get sick, I could get out of attending the memorial party for my mother in law on Saturday. Isn't that awful? Gregg and I are both dreading it for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our regard for his mother and her memory. But of course, we have to go, not just for the party but also to sort through her things with his siblings and decide what we want to keep and bring back with us. It's going to be a long, trying, emotional day and I almost wish I had such a good excuse to stay at home! Of course, a flu would be a lot more than just one unpleasant day. Everyone that I know of that has gotten sick has endured several days of very high fevers that have been hard to keep down.

Is the flu especially virulent where you live this year? 

25 comments:

  1. I had the flu before Christmas , I am still not right now so the answer is a big yes x

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  2. I hear that it is bad. The nurse in the GP office where my grandson got his 2-month check-up last week said they'd seen so many cases of it. And people on Facebook seem to be reporting a lot of it. I can't imagine anything more miserable than getting flu and strep at the same time. I am certain that many victims of those two together might have uttered, "Just kill me now," and meant it. Ugh.
    The most troubling thing is that yes, there are more than the usual number of flu-related deaths being reported. I almost wonder if they shouldn't just put everyone on quarantine for a few weeks but of course, that's not a reasonable thing to do. I am using my general tendency to be a hermit to rationalize staying home as much as possible. Or perhaps, I should be using my fear of the flu as a rationalization for being a hermit.
    Whatever, people working with children have to be in the bullseye of the flu zone. As you well know. Take care, honey.

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    1. By the time I left work on Friday, we were up to 152 confirmed cases of flu out of 901 enrolled students. I can't even imagine how awful the ones with strep and flu must feel. I'm doing my best to stay well.

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  3. I don't know how prevalent the flu is where I live; you are very aware because you work in a school. I recently read that the flu can be spread simply by breathing, not only by coughs, sneezing or touching a door knob or other object. That is rather disheartening. Stay well Jennifer.

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    1. I seem to have a pretty good immune system **knocking on wood** and so far, so good.

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  4. It is very bad here up 900% since last year. I,920 confirmed last week.
    I understand you not wanting to go to the memorial service but I would not go because of all the flu germs passing around. I do not go anywhere there are any groups of people, especially children. Just too dangerous for my health.
    Stay safe and be well.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    1. Gayle, my late MIL's husband and his children (by his first wife) are crazy about Scotties and last night I showed his daughter, Beth, pictures of your Winston. She said to tell you that you're a woman after her own heart! She's always had Scotties, one after the other, while raising her family. She ooh'd and ahhh'd over Winston!

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  5. We have five deaths so far this year, four adults, one child. Not good.

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  6. It is. The flu shot was next to useless this year. So many of the people I care for have had the flu. It sounds horrible but most elderly people do not sneeze into their sleeves, cough without covering their mouths and rarely wash their hands even after going to the bathroom. We can hit the shot at 100% but if people can’t manage the basics of flu prevention it is still going to spread. It may be less serious but in the elderly, small children and the immune comprised we are going to have deaths.

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  7. I'm dreading getting the Flu'. I have a weak chest; after a lifetime of asthma even a bad cold hits me really badly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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    1. I didn't know you had asthma, Cro. You should definitely take care to avoid contact with people who may have colds or flu. Be well, my friend.

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  8. I hear talk of it here but only talk. The local tv news shows film of people who claim to have the flu attending the doctors surgery. My experience of flu, only twice in my life, is that I was unable to walk because my legs had no strength and I could not move and I was bedridden. I am not sure what people have, and why, unless they have other complications, they attend a doctors surgery and spread cold germs. With flu staying in bed is the only option unless someone carries you to an ambulance because you need emergency help due to other poor health. Good luck with the family. If Gregg didn't go he would maybe always wonder what they did while he wasn't there. x

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    1. I had flu once in my 20's and it was just as you describe...it took me at least a month to get my strength back. A terrible experience.

      The family party was okay. It was much sadder than I expected, but you can hardly expect grieving people to be in a "party" mood.

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  9. Several people I know have said they have the flu, but that's self-diagnosis. I don't think it's hit here very hard yet. We both get flu shots every year, but here in Spain the recommendations are not the same as in the States, so few people get the vaccine. I'm not sure what the reasoning is. Hope you're spared the flu but wish you could be spared that long trying emotional day!

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    1. It was a difficult day, Mitch. I think with Gregg's health scare right after my MIL died our grief was put on hold. Now that he's okay it's really starting to sink in that his mom is gone and I think we're both just beginning to grieve for her.

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  10. No flu here midsummer. I hope you are not getting Australian flu which is blitzing the UK.

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    1. Flu seems to be bad all over the world right now.

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  11. We have curtailed our social life because of the flu. I know not know anyone who has gotten it, but the news about it is very bad.

    As difficult as funerals (memorials) are, you and your husband would never forgive yourselves afterwards for not going. It is part of life. When my parents died, I found it cathartic to be with my family and sort out their property. It was the last thing that I could do for them. My sisters and I relived precious and funny moments and being together brought us all even closer.

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  12. It is making the rounds at the schools and offices in our area, too. Apparently, the predominant strain this year is H3N2, which is particularly vile.

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  13. Please stay well, Jennifer! It is so easy to catch stuff working at a school, as you know from your own experience.
    I have not been really ill in years, but have been snivelly and a bit chesty since Thursday.

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    1. I hope you're feeling better now, Meike. I haven't been really ill in years either, but even a simple cold can be miserable.

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  14. You asked "Isn't that awful?" and my reply is "Yes". In my humble opinion, it is your loving duty and your privilege to say farewell to Edythe at the family gathering. As for winter bugs over here in England, please see my most recent post.

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    1. This comment hurt my feelings. I loved Edythe dearly. Dreading her memorial party had nothing whatsoever to do with my feelings towards her. I know very well how much I owe her and honoring her memory is something I will do for the rest of my life in any way I can.

      What I really dreaded was going up early before the party to sort through her things, especially given that there has been some strife in the extended family over some heirloom pieces. Gregg and I find that kind of bickering over material things beyond distasteful and an insult to her memory. That's why we weren't looking forward to going.

      Thankfully Gregg's brother and sister also refused to get involved with arguing over her things. Most of the issue has come from older aunts and uncles in the family. The three siblings presented a united front in saying "Today is about mom. We won't discuss her property with you here" and that was the end of that. So it was ok.




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