Watch out. I’m crabby and sick…yes, I’ve got the flu.
Today is actually the first day where my head has felt clear enough to think and my temperature hasn’t bounced between 102-103. It started on Monday with just a little innocuous cough. I wasn’t sick. No way. By Tuesday, all I wanted to do was curl up in my bedroom and not move. I haven’t been this sick in decades. It sucks.
Anyway- enough about me. There are some interesting facts about this little bugger.
– The term “influenza” comes from the Italians. “Influentia” was the title they gave it because it had to come from the influence of the planets, stars and moon. What else could cause such a sudden and widespread wasteland of sickness?
– The English adopted the word “influenza” in the mid eighteenth century. In Arabic, there’s a similar sounding word given to it which means “nose of the goat” because they believed it was brought in by the goats.
– There have been 4 major global flu pandemics since 1900. Most recent has been the swine flu (H1N1). In 1968-69, the Hong Kong flu killed approximately 1 million people. In 1957-58, the Asian flu swept through leaving somewhere between 1-4 million people dead. And then there’s the biggie- in 1918-19, the Spanish flu pandemic killed between 50-100 million people worldwide.
– It even had a nick name. The Spanish flu was referred to as “the purple death” because the worst symptom right before death was called “heliotrope cyanosis”. The lungs were starved of oxygen and the patient would turn purple, black, or blue.
– A negative swine flu test doesn’t mean you don’t have H1N1. Really?!?
– Viruses are 20-100 times smaller than bacteria and can only be seen with strong microscopes.
– Virus is a Latin term meaning poisonous, slimy liquid. (That sounds about right.)
– Viruses mutate more in one day than humans have in several million years.
– Even with today’s powerful antibiotics, bacterial pneumonia is still the most common complication to the flu and the reason for a huge number of deaths.
– Reyes syndrome is a rare but potentially fatal disorder linked to taking aspirin during a viral illness. What we forget about is that dozens of cold and flu remedies contain aspirin. Symptoms include persistent vomiting, fever, confusion with liver and brain damage occurring within a few days.
– The source of flu vaccines are chickens so if you are allergic to eggs, you need to be under a doctor’s care if you have one. ( The pharmacist told me this year’s shot has proved very ineffective.)
– Did I mention it sucks?