Nov 4, 2009

H1N1 - We had it!

We had it.

Here's what the CDC says about H1N1(formerly known as swine flu):
How do I know if I have the flu?

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:
fever *
sore throat
runny or stuffy nose
body aches
sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

It also says this:
How will I know what strain of flu I have or if it’s 2009 H1N1 (formerly known as Swine Flu)?

You may not be able to find out definitively what flu virus you have. Currently available rapid influenza diagnostic tests cannot distinguish between 2009 H1N1 and seasonal influenza A viruses. Most people with flu symptoms this season will not require testing for 2009 H1N1 because the test results usually do not change how you are treated. As of September 2009, more than 99% of circulating influenza viruses in the United States are 2009 H1N1. Therefore, at this time, if your health care provider determines that you have the flu, you most likely have 2009 H1N1. As the season progresses, different influenza viruses may circulate and updated national information on circulating influenza viruses is available in the FluView U.S. Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report.

There are laboratory tests available that can tell the difference between 2009 H1N1 and other strains of flu, but these can take one to several days to provide results and this season, CDC has recommended that this testing be focused on 1) people who are hospitalized with suspected flu; 2) people such as pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems, for whom a diagnosis of flu will help their doctor make decisions about their care.

Ainsley started at her new school on the 19th. A few days into the week some kids that had been absent came back even though they were still obviously sick. (One benefit of having nurses go to school with your child, you get a full report.) That Saturday while I was at my sister's bridal shower Ainsley heart rate became elevated to the 170 range (she's always monitored while she sleeps). A few hours later she developed a 102 fever but the heart rate didn't come down on Tylenol even though the fever did. Then she had a constant cough while sleeping that kept us all awake most of the nights for a couple days (this is fairly typical for her when she is sick because she's coughing up secretions through a tiny tube). I figured it was an ordinary cold virus until I read more about H1N1 on the CDC website. Because children with tracheostomies and lung conditions are at higher risk for complications we were very afraid of her getting H1N1 and there has been much discussion about it on the trach forum. Unfortunately the vaccine was not available. Even if we could get it I knew she wouldn't be protected until the second dose was received 4 weeks later. This presented a dilemma in whether or not to send her to school where she would be at high risk of contracting it. Little did I know she already had.

Fortunately her pediatrician agreed to test her. The rapid-test Thursday was negative so I thought perhaps I was wrong. They gave Evie and Adrian the first dose of the mist H1N1 vaccine. I think her doctor thought it was going to be negative. But yesterday we got the call that the laboratory test came back positive. Adrian and Steve also got sick last week and after having had a cold for weeks I had a flare up of symptoms. Evie is the only one who I'm not as sure about but she was certainly exposed and likely had a very mild version. Luckily we were all feeling better by Halloween and it wasn't too bad.

It sounds weird but we are hugely relieved because now I don't have to fear it all winter and spring. I don't have to fight to get the vaccine that is in short supply and Ainsley can go back to school after her surgery next week.

I now believe that this virus is far more wide spread than people realize. That most people who are sick have it and that most of us will get it eventually. I only hope that it turns out to be as mild for everyone else as it was for us.


  1. I totally agree with the relief of having it now and just knowing! Kisses to Ainsley xx

  2. That is a relief that you got through it ok and don't have to worry about it!

    Good info in your post!

  3. sorry that your family fell ll but am so thankful that you all did so well! what a superstar! really!!!! go Ainsley go!!!