I came back to work from lunch one day last week, business as usual, when it struck me like a Mack truck. Oh, What The...? I hadn’t exactly worked up a sweat pounding back my (2) Jamaican meat pies, but…maybe? Discretely (as discretely as I could surrounded by coworkers sitting at the front reception desk) I did a pit-check. You know, pretended to look at something to the side, resting my chin on my shoulder, slowly inhaled. Huh. Nothing but the sweet smell of Secret (who’s slogan is “Because you’re hot.” Why, thank you. You’re not too bad yourself.) and stale office air.
Well, I’m not crazy (shut up). The entire area surrounding my desk and those desks in the vicinity smelled clearly and distinctly like body odour. Disgusting, unrelenting b.o. I even caught one of the other ladies doing their own, less discrete check (arm in the air, face buried in her armpit, looking around with a Stink Face). It was awful. Like, call the union and report unsafe working conditions, awful.
I couldn’t concentrate. I had a headache. I literally thought I was going to vomit. And no one knew where the stench was coming from. No one, that is, but one very helpful and concerned desk-mate. She finally piped up.
“I heard that if you cut an onion in half and leave it in a room, it will suck up all the flu viruses in the air and we won’t get sick! You’re welcome.”
Sweet baby Jesus. A magical onion that will suck up the virus and save us all from The Sick? Really? *Snopes.com says that’s ridiculous. They didn’t say she was ridiculous, just the idea. (#1 Rule of Blogging – don’t insult people you see every day and might read this or know someone who reads this. Unless you like the taste of your own feet.)
But, you know what? There are so many myths and wives tales and false “facts” floating around the Interwebs (and if it’s on the Interwebs, it must be true) it’s no wonder people start clinging to things that seem strange.
“You can get the flu from the vaccine. I got it last year and got the flu the very next week.”
- Impossible – it does not contain any of the live virus. Did you feel sick to your stomach? Throw up? You had viral gastroenteritis, not influenza, which is a respiratory disease, not a stomach bug.
But how do you know what to believe and what to blow off? Well, for one, you should start with a reliable source. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, would be a good spot. The Ministry has information, correct information, about everything aych one en one related. Local clinics? Boom. The Ministry has that. Influenza assessment tools? Bam. The Ministry has that. Tips on staying healthy, none of which involve smelling homeless? Pow. The Ministry has that.
It’s important for us to stay informed and to seek opinions, but it’s our responsibility to get our information from trustworthy and reliable sources.
Otherwise, we’ll all just smell like onions.
More useful info after the jump.
This year it’s a different flu season
How can you tell if you or your child has H1N1?
Use Ontario’s online self-assessment tool which helps to diagnose the symptoms.
What to Do When Your Child is Sick with Influenza
1. Treat your child’s fever
- Take off heavy clothing and blankets.
- Dress the child in lightweight clothing and keep the room temperature at 20°C (68°F).
- Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and muscle pain in the dose recommended on the package (unless your doctor says otherwise).
Note : Do NOT give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or Aspirin®), or any cold medicine that has ASA, to children or teenagers under the age of 18.
2. Treat your child’s other flu symptoms
- Encourage your child to get plenty of rest.
- Use salt-water nose drops to treat a stuffy nose.
- Ask your pharmacist about any over-the-counter medicines for cough.
3. Protect others from flu
- Keep your child at home until his/her fever has been absent for at least 24 hours and he or she is feeling well enough to resume normal activities. It’s important for your child to stay home if there’s fever so that the virus doesn’t spread to other children.
- Your child can return to school 24 hours after the fever has resolved and he/she is feeling well enough to get back to normal activities.
When should you seek medical care for your child?
Use Ontario’s influenza assessment tool
(link: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ccom/flu/h1n1/public/tools/assessment/default.aspx) to see whether your child needs medical care.
Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider if your child is under age 5 and develops flu symptoms. The risk of complications from flu is higher for children under age 2.
Where is the shot available?
Many health care providers, Family Health Teams and Community Health Centres are now offering the flu vaccine. Moms should call their doctor’s office first to see if they offer the shot, and if not there is updated listing of flu clinics here: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ccom/flu/h1n1/public/clinics.aspx. This list is updated regularly.
Children are highly susceptible to the H1N1 virus, it is recommended that parents get their children immunized over the next few weeks.
Depending on their age and health conditions, some children should receive two half-doses of H1N1 flu vaccine, administered at least 21 days apart.
If you have already had your child vaccinated, and they are between 6 months and 35 months old, they may be due for a second dose. Check with your health care provider or take a look at the chart here: (link to: dose chart on Ontario.ca/flu)
Seniors with underlying health conditions
Adults aged 65 and older seem to have more protection against getting H1N1 flu than the general public but those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to serious complications and death if they do contract the disease.
Seniors with underlying health conditions will be offered the vaccine in the offices of their family health care providers.
Information for pregnant women
Pregnant women are no more likely to get the H1N1 flu virus than the rest of the population, but they are more likely to develop complications from an influenza infection.
Most pregnant women who get the H1N1 flu experience mild symptoms of influenza. They will be sick for a few days with fever and cough, and then recover. A small number may become severely ill and require hospitalization.
As with seasonal influenza, pregnant women, especially those in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, and women up to 6 weeks after delivery are at a higher risk of developing complications from influenza (e.g., pneumonia).
Wouldn’t if just be safer to not get vaccinated at all during pregnancy?
When you are pregnant, your immune system is suppressed. This puts pregnant women among those who are most at risk of complications from catching the H1N1 virus.
So it is strongly recommended that pregnant women receive an H1N1 vaccination so you can avoid catching the H1N1 flu.
The vaccine is safe for pregnant women. The vaccine does not contain live virus; you cannot contract H1N1 flu from it. Unadjuvanted vaccine is being offered and can be administered at any stage of pregnancy. Link for pregnant women: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ccom/flu/h1n1/public/pregnant.aspx