Cold or The Flu?

I have, had, am recovering from the flu.

I say this with some reservation as I am usually reluctant to claim the flu for what is probably just a cold. Many people these days seem to say they have flu when they just have a bad cold, after all it does sound so much more dramatic, especially if you are trying to wrangle a few days off work. Although the two conditions share some symptoms they are very different beasties. I have had flu before. The last time was many years ago when I was at college and I remember how ill I was. I have had bad colds since, but nothing as bad as genuine flu until now.

I’m not a doctor botherer, I don’t believe in going to the doctor with complaints that I feel I can deal with adequately at home. Doctors should be reserved for the serious problems, especially these days when the NHS is short-handed, under-funded and can’t afford the luxury of treating those who don’t really need it. When I was a child our family GP had a sign on his waiting room wall which read “Prescription is the art of keeping the patient amused while Nature effects a cure.” Well I’m not fussed about being amused, just let Nature get on with it – with a little sensible self-help.

My son started first, with what we, as usual, dismissed as a bad cold. Then a few days later my husband succumbed. A day after that I got it. This was last Tuesday; in the morning I was fine, went to my Spanish class as usual, came home then a short while later from having no symptoms I suddenly had a splitting headache, my eyes hurt, I ached and coughed. After that I was fit for nothing for several days, the lightest effort left me exhausted and I was alternately frozen or sweating hot! – all three of us were the same, at slightly different stages according to when we first went down with it. Pretty well all I could do was sleep and even that was often disrupted. Using my brain for anything was out of the question. I confess I am now slightly worried as you can incubate the flu for a couple of days before symptoms appear and I just hope I haven’t passed it on to the rest of the Spanish group, some of whom are not young!

My son insisted it was flu. I was still reluctant to name it as such but when I began to feel slightly better I decided to check out whether or not what we had was indeed the flu or just a bad cold. I came across a simple chart on the internet showing the differences between the symptoms of a cold and the flu which I was hoping to share here in case anyone else finds it of help but it won’t let me so here is the link: Our symptoms ticked all the Influenza boxes.

Now what I don’t understand is that both my son and I lost our appetites, I could hardly face food at all, though my husband could still eat to his normal capacity. In fact he never seems to lose his appetite when he is unwell, whereas I always do. The other slight problem is that he had, several weeks earlier, had the flu jab, after which he felt very unwell with tightness in his chest and pains in his arms – which coming after his recent angina diagnosis was a trifle worrying especially as his ‘puffer’, didn’t shift it. The jab obviously didn’t prevent him getting the flu. With the vaccine given a less than 50% effectiveness rating I don’t think he will bother again. I didn’t have the jab; perhaps the main difference has been that normally, at least with a cold, he would get it worse than me but this time I seem to have been worse than him, so maybe it did do him some good after all.

I am now on the mend, my head doesn’t ache, most other symptoms have reduced but I do have a rather nasty cough that keeps me awake and sometimes gets such a grip I don’t think I’m going to stop. But on the plus side, due to my loss of appetite I have now finally lost the few extra pounds I put on over Christmas and New Year – be thankful for small mercies.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jules
    Feb 05, 2018 @ 17:59:25

    Glad you are on the mend. We get ‘Jabbed’ every year. I’d rather not catch something my grands may bring home from school. And so few folks take off when sick from work unless they are extremely ill… Of course now it is recommended that older folks also get a precautionary shot against ‘singles’. I haven’t had that yet… Not sure if our insurance covers it. A few years back in investigating the cost for someone on state aide (which did not cover the cost) – then, the shot was about $75.

    Easy to get chilled when not dressing correctly for the weather. We had some mock spring like days. But we are full on winter once again. Yesterday we had snow, then freezing rain on top of that. Low temps all week.

    I’m not going out if I don’t have too. Though because of a school delay this morning I had to take my grandson into his school.


    • Libby
      Feb 06, 2018 @ 16:44:55

      Thanks Jules. I’ve gone downhill a bit again today but I guess that’s how it goes. I just wish I could shake off this debilitating cough! Didn’t get much sleep last night! I might consider the jab next year – I just hate to admit I’m getting old. Rod was offered the shingles jab but hasn’t had it. I’ve had shingles, but so far no-one has offered me any jabs – not flu, shingles, nothing. 😦


      • Jules
        Feb 06, 2018 @ 17:21:47

        Our insurance covers the flu, not sure about the shingles… though I believe I had a good bout with it as a youngster. And my hubby had that virus as a child and as an adult… though they didn’t call it shingles then over thirty years ago. Our children had mild cases as tots, and then my younger one brought ‘it’ home from nursery school, gave it to our other child who then gave it to Dad. But I didn’t get it then so… I’m thinking if I didn’t get it then I might be OK not to get that inoculation.

        As we get older, we just have to worry about other things… like our memories going … Hmm. Now what was I going to say…???

        I used to get sore throats quite a bit. But not being exposed to large amounts of children much less people (not a fan of crowds these days) – I’ve stayed fairly healthy.

        Tea and honey, or just honey for the cough. Though I’m not a Dr. 🙂 Rest well. Hugs!

  2. elaine patricia
    Feb 05, 2018 @ 21:56:44

    Glad to hear you are getting better.


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