If the phrase “I’ve never been so sick in my life” has a familiar ring to it, chances are you’ve had a close encounter with the influenza bug this winter.
Spread primarily by the airborne droplets of sneezing and coughing, the ’flu virus also can be transmitted via a hard surface such as a tabletop. Under certain conditions, the virus can survive a number of hours or days until an unsuspecting host like you or I comes into contact with it.
Once infected, we’re left fighting off a high fever, nausea, headaches, muscle aches, and pains for more days than we’d care to remember.
“I just can’t seem to shake this ’flu,” Times staff writer Mark Elliott lamented yesterday afternoon as he popped a couple of B-complex vitamins.
“I’ve been sicker but not for this long,” he noted.
“There’s lots going around--it is that time of year,” Dr. Robert Nugent of the Fort Frances Clinic said yesterday.
But unless a doctor suspects a more serious complication like pneumonia or dehydration, the best advice they give to patients is what our moms probably told us first.
“We’re mostly giving advice because there is no treatment. It’s the motherhood recipe that says drink lots of fluids and take Tylenol for your aches and pains while you’re waiting for it to go away,” prescribed Dr. Nugent.
He also suggested people with the ’flu stay away from milk and citrus-based drinks and stick more to sips of diluted pop and water for nourishment.
While the “malaise” period differs for each person, Dr. Nugent said most ’flu sufferers can expect to be down at least a week before the body overpowers the nasty virus.
“It’s usually up to 72 hours before the symptoms peak and then [people] feel dragged out for that amount of time on the other side of it,” he added.
Local pharmacists also reported seeing their share of customers suffering ’flu-like symptoms seeking remedies of one sort or another.
“A lot of people are with the usual symptoms--aches, pains, and nausea [but] the ones that have it seem to have it really bad,” said pharmacist Craig Armstrong of Pharmasave.
“I think colds and ’flu number about the same as last year but are longer lasting and nastier,” added pharmacist David Schwartz of Gagné Pharmacy.