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Posts Tagged ‘H1N1’

So, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say about this. I even consulted with a good friend and colleague regarding this post. For your basic frequently asked questions, go here.

What I want to say is not meant to scare anyone or to tell you what to do regarding vaccinations, etc. It is your body, your choice and ultimately you must make the informed decision of whether to vaccinate or not. What I want is to impart some of my experiences with H1N1 (without violating any patient confidentiality of course) as a health care provider who works directly with H1N1 patients (from age 0 to 100) who end up in our emergency department, our hospital ward rooms and our intensive care unit. I specifically provide respiratory care (assessment, intubation, the use of ventilators, etc) to all patients in hospital so this stuff is really my bread and butter.

There are a lot of people who will end up getting H1N1. Some may be down for the count at home, with flu like symptoms and fever. Others may start to have issues with their breathing, and worst still, some may require the use of ventilators and drugs to keep them alive. Some of those people on “life support” measures will be critically ill for a few weeks, begin to improve and are able to go home. Others are not able to maintain their blood pressure regardless of how many medications they are on and how much fluids they receive. These people are most likely to die. Some have died within days of being admitted to the intensive care unit. Can we predict how your body will react to H1N1? Absolutely not. It’s part of our genetic make up. Here’s what I want you to remember:

Young people are dying.

This virus is taking down people in their prime. We generally expect older people with many issues (diabetes, COPD, asthma, hypertension, etc etc) to end up on life support during the flu season. Not this time–not to say they are entirely excluded–this time we are seeing young children and younger adults in their 20s and 30s being hit. And hit hard. Some even dying.

Pay attention.

If you have a fever with a cough, shortness of breath or generalized feelings of unwellness, see your doctor. If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, fast respiratory rate, blue lips or fingertips, dizzy/faintness get HELP NOW. Don’t stay at home and “tough it out”.

Seek attention quickly.

There is a window of opportunity for when Tamiflu can be given. See your doctor within the first few days of your illness.

Listen to your gut.

If you feel like you’re being brushed off by whomever–the walk in clinic, the emerg physician, go see someone else. If you don’t feel well and things aren’t improving/you still have a fever, go see someone again. Doctors are NOT perfect. Sometimes people are sent home who should NOT be sent home! You need to advocate for yourself!

Wash your hands.

I mean seriously. Did you go out? Did you handle money? Did you touch the gym equipment? Wash those hands, carry antibacterial handwash and use a great moisturizer. (my fave–I wash my hands at least 48 times per shift and my hands are still intact!)

Stay at home.

If you’re sick, don’t go spreading it around. You don’t know how others will react to the virus and worst of all you don’t want the responsibility of knowing that you got someone sick and they ended up in hospital (or died) from it. Trust me. It happens.

Look out for each other.

If you know someone is sick, check up on them. Call them. Email them. Make sure they’re okay. Not everyone understands which symptoms are cause for concern. I have seen patients literally left to die due to the ignorance of their families and/or coworkers.

And lastly,

Thank you for reading this post.

Knowledge is power and information like this is what saves lives. You may very well save a life with this information.

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about this. Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Take care of yourselves.

xo

Today’s eats to be posted later on this evening, including what’s in store for this week!

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