It's that time of year again, where the flu is making the rounds. I always worry about getting the flu, because it can be especially bad for people with asthma.
Any cold or flu can be worse when you have asthma.
And I am already hearing about people dying from the flu. In fact, a young (and I assume healthy) 29 year old female lawyer died of the flu in October. And there was no mention of that she had asthma.
Last year, The Hubby got the flu.
Even though I had quarantined The Hubby to our bedroom, was cleaning everything with bleach wipes, and I was sleeping on the couch to try to avoid the germs, I got sick anyway.
I was at work and felt a little tickle in my throat, so I used my inhaler. As the day went on, my lungs started to burn. That was unusual because I didn't have a runny nose, and I wasn't coughing or sneezing. I didn't feel sick. But my lungs just started to burn- and it quickly got worse.
That's unusual for me, because my lungs don't burn unless I have been exposed to dogs, smokers, etc. They usually burn after an asthma attack. Or - from being sick for days at a time.
I left the office and went home to use my nebulizer. At this point, I knew it that just using my inhaler wasn't going to cut it, I needed something stronger.
Even after using my nebulizer, my lungs kept getting worse. Then the chills and fever started. Great.
By now, it was early evening, and the doctor's office was closed.
I knew this could not wait until morning. Since The Hubby was too sick to drive, I managed to drag myself to Urgent Care. I told Urgent Care Doc that my husband had the flu, I think I caught it, and I have asthma.
That always changes how doctors treat a patient who comes in with problems breathing. They know that those of us with asthma get sicker than the average person (who doesn't have asthma.)
Urgent Care Doc said that there was a shortage of the anti-viral drug they use to treat the flu, but he was going to give me a prescription and to start it immediately.
I could barely drive myself to the closest 24 hour pharmacy to get my medicine and drive back home. This is the first time that I have been scared that I was going to end up in the hospital.
The flu hit so hard and so fast, that I was worried. My kids had been in the hospital 12 times when they were younger (mostly for pneumonia and bad air quality).
But, this is the first time I was worried that I would end up in the hospital.
As a Certified Asthma Educator, I knew how to treat myself at home, but I there were a few hours where I worried I was going to have to call one of my college aged kids to take me to the hospital.
I really feel that if I hadn't had my flu shot, it would have been worse. I know that it offered some protection. And that if I didn't have my flu shot, I would have ended up in the hospital.
So, if you are debating about getting the flu shot this year, and you have asthma, do you really want to take a chance?
People do end up in the hospital or worse - die from the flu.
Don't think it can happen to you? Neither did the 80,000 people who died from the flu last year.
Don't take a chance - if you can protect yourself, do it! Get your flu shot today!