In British Columbia, we are now
approximately midway through the second "wave" of the pandemic. For example,
my sister's family was affected in the past two weeks. First her two sons
became ill, then my sister, and finally her husband.
But not all were affected in the same
way. By far, her husband had the most severe symptoms: high fever for days,
severe chills, nausea, loss of appetite. After six days, I'm happy to report
that he is feeling better. And, of course, the worry has been about the
"What if?" By this I mean "What if he had been one of those rare individuals
who ends up in hospital, fighting for his life?"
Remember that the authorities have
called the symptoms of H1N1 "mild." But what happened to my brother in law
seemed far from mild. Anyone who has had the real flu knows that influenza
is not a mild illness. Typically, an individual with flu will miss at least
a week of work, perhaps two. In a country where sick leave averages five or
six days a year, ten missed days is a lot!
I know that I have had many questions
about the flu this year. One, of course, concerns vaccination. Recently, I
have read that, for the most part, the vaccine will be available to
Canadians only after the second wave of flu has passed. I do not,
however, blame the authorities; remember that the flu was only identified
(and its DNA sequenced) in March of this year. It is remarkable how quickly
a vaccine was created.
If you have questions about the current
pandemic, I have found that The Globe and Mail's health reporter's question
and answer section valuable, accurate and interesting:
The daily H1N1 question. The
Top H1N1 tips for parents is also useful.