YANMDoctor. What are the chances that this recent illness was actually the flu?
Jumping on the well-populated bandwagon of flu-related-questions around here lately: My daughter and I just got through some sort of mystery serious upper-respiratory thing. I'm wondering whether anyone can shed some light on whether this was, indeed, The Flu, or if that trial is potentially still ahead of us. Here are the tedious details:
on return to daycare after Christmas break, the caregiver copped to having just recovered from a 6-day bout of what she called "the flu." Sounded convincing-- 104-degree fever, prostration, severe cough, etc. The next day, we got Daughter the flu shot (horse, barn door and all that).
Two days later, Daughter suddenly (like within 2 hours) breaks a 102.5-degree fever. Over the next five days, continual fever (controlled with meds, but gets up to the 101s), complete exhaustion, aches, malaise, extremely runny nose and sneezing, but no coughing. On sixth day, illness departs as suddenly as it came.
Two days after onset of Daughter's illness, start nasal irritation and extremely runny nose. Within three hours, 101-ish fever. Fever carefully controlled with acetaminophen, but tends to drift up into 101s otherwise. Some fatigue, aches/chills, very runny nose, no coughing. Illness lasts a little over two days, then ends suddenly. My first and only flu vaccine was four years ago; I've had nasty feverish colds since then but nothing obviously identifiable as the flu. Not sure I've ever had the flu, in fact.
Had the flu shot in November. Despite spending the week cheek-by-jowl with our sneezy, tissue-dropping kid, hasn't gotten ill at all.
Obviously, points in favor of this being the flu are the apparent immunity of vaccinated Husband, the medium-high fevers (aren't you not supposed to get bad fevers at all with colds?), the severity of the original caregiver's illness, and the sudden onset in all cases. On the other hand, there's the absence of any coughing at all, the fact that mine pretty definitively started in my nose, and the mysterious mildness of the illness in my case, when by rights I really shouldn't have even a shred of flu immunity to stand on. Also the fact that people on MeFi have been saying things like, "If you're just hoping not to die, that's how you know it's the flu," and nothing any of us experienced really sounds as bad as all that.
WHY IT MATTERS: with the flu at epidemic levels where we live, I'd like to have some sense of whether I still need to be ultra-paranoid about avoiding public places/other people, or if cross-strain resistance will give us some measure of protection.
Also, I'm pregnant (first trimester), have been enjoying reviewing research like this
, and would like to know whether I'll need to spend the next 42 months freaking out about the specifically influenza-related bump to autism risks, or merely the more generic one associated with all maternal febrile infections. My OB will let me get the vaccine next month, once I'm out of the first trimester, and it'd also be worthwhile knowing if that's something to push for or not.
So, what say you, Metafilter? Was it the flu, or not the flu?