So hey, you know all that hemming and hawing I was doing over vaccinating my kids against H1N1? I think they already got it. Not the vaccination, mind you, which isn’t yet available, but the actual flu.

Dylan’s been dealing with a runny nose and cough for a while, and that morphed into a couple of barfing episodes on Monday. He was limp, feverish, and looked pink-eyed and terrible, then after a warm bath he seemed to completely rally—he was running around, eating, and he didn’t feel hot. Whew, I thought. Glad that’s over with! And with almost no sense of comedic foreboding, I put him to bed, along with Riley, who had just started complaining of a headache.

I don’t even know how to describe the events that eventually unfolded throughout the night, except to say that literally nothing in my four+ years of parenting had prepared me for what’s involved in caring for two children who are experiencing similar bodily misfortunes at the same time. They both ran high fevers (as tested by my lips-to-the-forehead method, which reports in three levels: Hmmm, Oh Dear, and Holy Fucking Shit), they both puked, they both required multiple baths and a truly epic and horrifying ongoing laundry cycle.

We ended up putting Riley in our room on a cot and until the combination of Motrin and Tylenol finally brought his fever down, he laid there shivering and moaning in a sort of half-sleep, which was . . . well, awful. Just awful and scary. Dylan woke up over and over and got weirdly chatty around 3 AM (“Horse?”) and oh man, the night just went on and on and on. Even when they were both sleeping, I wasn’t—I laid there for hours staring up at our dark bedroom ceiling listening for the kids while my heart whammed around in my chest like a bird in a chimney.

They both seem much better today, thank god. Runny noses and some lingering fever, but greatly improved.

After we’d all been up for a while this morning, I started thinking that if they didn’t have the flu, my decision on the vaccination was no longer a difficult one. Vaccinate away! Fill them with drugs! Stab them with needles until they look like porcupines! My god, anything to reduce the chances of another night like that, or worse.

I called the pediatrician’s office to see about making an appointment for getting them tested for H1N1, and you know what? They aren’t doing any testing. Unless you’re about to be hospitalized, doctors—at least around here—pretty much aren’t testing for the swine flu. “Not even to see if we need the vaccine or not?” I asked, and the nurse said they’re recommending everyone get the vaccine even if they suspect they had the flu.

So did they or do they still have swine flu? I think maybe they did, but there’s apparently no way to know for sure. But yeah, we’ll be getting those vaccinations. Even though, ironically, they may be totally unnecessary now.

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Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

Oh gawd, you know, for something thats pandemic, you think they’d want to test for that. Hrm. Go CDC!

I hope the little ones feel better soon!

Mimi
12 years ago

My SIL had a severe flu last week and she was told to assume that it was H1N1 because that is the only strain of the flu that is going around right now. (We live in Southern Oregon, BTW.)

My kids both had fevers last week and we also had a night of hell. And the WORRY. My God. I can’t wait to go back to a time when fever and flu-like symptoms don’t strike fear into my heart.

Mary
12 years ago

Aw, Linda. Hugs to you. It’s awful, isn’t it? I remember nights like that when I was eight and had scarlet fever, and nights like that two days ago when I really think two of my kids had flu, but I can’t say for sure. Hoping both the munchkins are much better soon, and you get a good night’s sleep.

Jenny
Jenny
12 years ago

A lot of my students have had the flu (I work at a college) and it lasts 7-10 days. So one night=probably not H1N1 flu, though maybe some other strain. And yeah, they’re totally overwhelmed with testing, so if you have “flu-like symptoms” they’re just telling you to go ahead and treat it like H1N1. Fair enough, I guess.

gertie
gertie
12 years ago

Every time my kids get sick I seem to find myself sitting up with them all night, thinking horrible, morbid thoughts of all the parents throughout human history who have had to watch their children succumb to illness. Can you even imagine that level of suffering? It is literally mind-numbing to think that not that long ago(or, today in some parts of the world) so many parents would have the experience of watching at least one of their children die due to disease.

I thank modern science for every vaccine it has produced, and I sign my kids up for all of them.

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

Probably not swine flu it was over too quick. Get the vac anyway, a friend of mines b-i-l is on lifesupport with it, they don’t know if he is going to make it or not. He is 52, so my best advice is that if you get it now too demand tamiflu right away the sooner the better. It seems to be helping if taken early enough. Shots all round. As well as regular flu and pnuemonia shots. And hang in there and hug up the babies, poor little guys. Sorry for my punctuation this was on my crackberry.

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

Oh Linda, I totally understand! That was ME staring awake at the dark ceiling having freak out thoughts that just ended with my almost 4 yr old in his car seat for a 4AM jaunt to the ER…and then he seemed fine. FINE! We didn’t go to the ER. But then the next day it was the same thing all over again and then my 2 yr old came down with it and yep, pretty sure it’s the N1H1 but who’s to really KNOW and so I too called my pediatricians office and they said the same thing you were told and if I really wanted them tested they’d have to do a blood draw and what would be worse, the blood draw for my 4 and 2 year old or a nose-spray thimerosal-free vaccination. So, yeah. We’ll be doing the nose thing. The cough/snot combo is seriously lingering OMG. (Lanolin is awesome for little chapped noses. and butts.)

Nicole
12 years ago

My ped told me that The Flu will last atleast 5 days (high fever and complete lethargy the entire tiime) so I either it wasn’t that or you are in for a week of fun…
My kids had horrible fevers for 4 days and then the lip test said it had improved so I kept wrestling them down to do the butt thermometer. I think it might have been NIHI but I didn’t even bother going in to the doctor because they were so overbooked with kids with different flus, I figured there was no amount of medicine that could cancel out all the germs that we would pick up in the waiting room! I just put us into quarantine.

OmegaMom
12 years ago

I will echo the “if it lasts only one night, it’s not the flu/H1N1”. I’m hoping you don’t have a similar night! We just finished our bout: my dotter–with the help of Tamiflu–had a horrible fever from Sunday thru last Thursday; mine lasted from the day after hers through Sunday (no Tamiflu, damn the luck) and I still have after-effects, and my husband’s sickness (low-fever or no-fever) lasted the same.

It’s bad enough with one kid running a “Holy Shit!” fever, I can’t imagine it with two at once. Hang in there!

Heidi
Heidi
12 years ago

The H1N1 started in our house about a month ago. Assumably my Mom brought it 1st (she has health issues and she easily catches any-damn-thing when she enters public areas). My dad had it so bad he was shivering in a steaming hot shower with the bathroom heater flaming. Dr said yes, it’s swine flu, no test, but sure it was. Next weekend I had it and was down for about 4 days. My dad, being older, took a long time to recover from it. My daughter (8 yrs old) got the regular flu shot proir and has not gotten any signs of any flu, despite spending every day in a germ-fest region otherwise known as 3rd GRADE!!

I’m in Nor Cal, they also say there is no test, they go off of symptons…..high fever for more than 48 hrs, headache, no appetite and extremely high aches in joints.

Hope all is better. Just thought I’d share what California’s diagnosis goes off of. Much love to your family!

del
del
12 years ago

Ouch I feel your pain, if you add in delirium you have described one night last week in our house. Vomit from top bunk was not fun, mattresses were dragged to the floor and were surrounded by rubber backed sheets to try and make the clean up easier.

Fortunately the kids were back in action in 24 hours, but it was a really long 24 hours. I still have a major sleep deficit and laundry that needs finishing but the puke-fest has finished and for that I am happy. I hope that the swine/bug/flu has left your house for good.

Judy
Judy
12 years ago

My daughter and her husband caught it while at a gaming convention in SEATTLE and brought it home with them, they were tested, it definitely was H1N1, and they were sick for nearly two weeks.

My boss was felled by some mysterious flu which kept her in bed for five days and feeling crappy a few more, and was told by the doctor “no need to test, it’s the only flu out there right now”.

I went for my semi-annual doctor visit yesterday and got the regular flu shot, but they don’t even have the H1N1 vaccine yet. No big decisions for me to make either.

Hillary
12 years ago

I cover health for our local paper. All the doctors and health officials I’ve talked to have said people should get the H1N1 vaccine, even if they think they’ve had it, for exactly the reason you mention — they aren’t testing, so it’s hard to know for sure. Also, there’s a chance the virus could mutate into something more severe, and mass vaccination will make that less likely.

Amanda
12 years ago

This is awful. Everyday I hear of more and more kids with this awful crap (and then the Mom gets it). According to my friend who is an ICU nurse and has had a the nasty H1N1 herself (she was giving advice to another parent of a child w/ suspected H1N1):

“H1N1, like the seasonal flu, has a significant respiratory component. Our hospital recommendations are stay away for 24 hours from last fever, with further recommendations to keep kids out of school for 2 – 3 days after last fever or last symptoms (whichever is longer) because there is new indications that the flu virus may shed longer that was initially thought…

and

“The cough can last for several weeks afterwards (I still have a bit of a cough from my bout of it), but there is some speculation that if someone still has symptoms (congestion/sneezing/sniffles, etc…) that they can still infect others. There isn’t a full spectrum of understanding known about exactly how long it is contagious, but there is some thought that the virus sheds even longer than the 24 hours after fever… As a parent, I would probably say keep her home Monday and maybe Tuesday if she has had a low grade fever this weekend. A lot of our H1N1 cases have low grades, in the 99’s – but not always spiking high…. “

Monica
Monica
12 years ago

I think the CDC isn’t testing anymore in a lot of places after there’s been a confirmed case in the region because they’d be totally and ridiculously swamped.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

I am so sorry you had to go through this! I hope it wasn’t the pig flu and whatever they had ran its course.

kakaty
kakaty
12 years ago

This made me think of a childhood memory: I was 4 or 5, my brother was about 7 and my sister 11 or 12. I don’t remember all the details, but it started with my brother getting sick in the middle of the night, then as my parents were cleaning that up my sister yaked all over the bed we were both in. I remember my dad taking me back to my room as my mom cleaned up my sister and her bed. Then I can clearly remember hearing my parents finally heading back to bed and I went out in the hall to tell them I didn’t feel well and instead projectile vomited down the wall. My mom sunk to the floor and started crying. I can’t blame her at all. One of my parents (can’t remember which one)also got sick so the other had 4 whimpering, puking people to take care of for a few days. Yuck! Family sickness blows.

Christina
12 years ago

I think that no one has a fracking clue what the huge difference is between H1N1 and the regular old flu. The vaccine is UNTESTED and they have no clue about how long H1N1 can last/be spread. I am just saying the vaccines do NOT mean we will not get something – it is just a precaution. You can give your kids the chicken pox vaccine and they can still get the chicken pox, you know? Am still on the fence, can ya tell!?

I have heard that there is severe difficulty with breathing associated with this “new” strain that is intense and that is why the kiddos need to be watched.

With all that said, I hope everyone is on the mend in your house! Here in our little town in Indiana there is some snarly nasty stomach flu thing going around that sounds similar to what your kiddos had. Fun times, fun times.

C @ Kid Things
12 years ago

I’m just going to reiterate what I think has already been said, I think the H1N1 lasts awhile, like weeks. And I’ve heard there’s some trouble breathing with it. So I’m glad your boys are feeling better, but I would suspect it’s more some other type of bug than swine. Also, I laughed out loud at Horse?.

Redbecca
Redbecca
12 years ago

Hmm, you know just based on what folks have written here, sounds like severity and symptoms can be all over the place depending on age, location, current health, and history of past flus. So in other words, unless they test you they’d have no idea if you’ve had it or not.
Lovely.
Hope the boys are on the mend and you don’t come down with this nasty bugger, either!

Kristin
12 years ago

Reading your post and these comments is making me so nervous. We haven’t had the flu yet (we got our regular flu shot a few weeks ago and am anxiously waiting for the H1N1 shot), and I’m so hoping we can avoid it. My 3 year old has had some horrible lingering snot filled cold for 2 weeks, which he’s just thoughtfully passed on to me and his 2 month old sister. Dealing with this has been hard enough! We’re already up multiple times a night to blow noses, apply Vicks and steam up the bathroom so we can all breathe. Adding puking and fever to the mix…I’m keeping everyone inside for the next 6 months! I hope you guys all feel better soon.

Marie Green
12 years ago

Once, when my twins were about 15-18 months old, I was putting them down for a nap. We were all three in the rocking chair, each girl cradled in each crook of my arm. They were facing each other. Out of NO WHERE, one girl barfed ALL OVER the other.

I just froze. I was telling myself “don’t panic, just THINK” and in that 15+ seconds the OTHER child threw up all over the first.

Oh, man. Oh man oh man oh man. I was home alone; there was nothing to do but DEAL with it- with two babies and myself all drenched. In the few seconds it took for me to try to figure out what to do first, the first child barfed AGAIN.

Later that night, we ALL FOUR threw up within the same 45 minutes. GOOD TIMES.

Currently we’ve all had runny noses and scratchy throat, but feel mostly fine. Let’s just hope it STAYS that way!

Healing thoughts coming your way!

Linda
Linda
12 years ago

You may want to call your doctor again and ask if they’ll test to see if the boys have the flu. They aren’t doing the H1N1 test anymore (mostly) because it’s expensive and 99% of flu cases out there right now are H1N1. There’s a flu test where they get a sample from the boy’s noses and 15 minutes later you know if they have the flu (there are some false results). If they test positive for the flu, they most likely have H1N1. Just an idea. That’s what we did with my son last week and he didn’t have the flu, so we plan on getting him vaccinated. Also, if they have the flu and it’s the first 48 hours they can prescribe tamiflu.

Olivia
Olivia
12 years ago

Poor babies! I’m happy they are feeling better.

The whole swine flu thing is driving me nutty. No testing, don’t bring them to the doc so as not infect other people, can’t get info on where/when to get the vaccine, etc.

Amy M.
Amy M.
12 years ago

I feel for you. It’s tough to see your babies suffer!

My baby got it a month ago & gave it to me. If it makes you feel any better, the test was rather unpleasant. My doc stuck a swab so far up my nose, I swear she swabbed my brain. Aside from the regular hospital mask, she also wore what looked like a welding mask. Made me feel loads better. And I got tested while on a nebulizer & holding a feverish baby. Also, the Tamiflu made me nauseous. And my washer broke with a vomiting baby. Hubby didn’t help me much since he was trying to keep my healthy son away from the sick girls. Nothing made me appreciate my mother more than feeling like death & taking care of a poor sick 1-y-o.

Wow, I’m whiny. Sorry about that. I hope everyone feels better soon!

Amalah
12 years ago

Yeah. YEAH. We’ve already done the seasonal vaccine and I will be offering up both boys’ meaty limbs for H1N1 as soon as it’s available. Your post just helped me triple make up my mind. (I’m sure that just makes it all so totally worth it, RIGHT?)

Jean
Jean
12 years ago

I’d say no because the main symptom is high fever that lasts for 4 or more days.

SKL
SKL
12 years ago

I think we had it here too – if not now, then back in the Spring. The symptoms you are describing are really going around right now. More nuisance than danger, for the most part. I won’t be vaccinating, still.

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

Okay, so, I’m not being alarmist. I’m not. Really. But here’s the thing: I’m 32 weeks pregnant, and my boss (Who is a germy, walking petri dish of a man to begin with) told us yesterday that both of his kids have swine flu.

He doesn’t wash his hands. He doesn’t do anything that a person should do under normal circumstances to stop the spred of germs. So of course now is no different.

Just… what, exactly, uh… how bad would it be, if I caught it? How dangerous? I’m trying not to be all panicky. But fuck, there’s a baby in this body, and I’m worried.

samantha jo campen
12 years ago

Oh the pitiful half-asleep groan/moan? KILLED ME. Theo did that when his fever was 104.5 a few weeks ago and it was horrid.

I’m so sorry you had to go through that and glad it seems to be over. Now break out the needles! Stabby Joe to the rescue!

Joanne
12 years ago

Since my boy got sick yesterday (with just a virus, although he had a fever and cough, so I was worried), I asked his ped about the vomiting/poo angle of the flu. He said he’s seen little babies with the vomiting thing from H1N1, but no one else. So maybe it wasn’t?

Oh, those nights when everyone is sick! It’s truly like a nightmare, except when morning comes it doesn’t go away. I hope everyone stays well.

Tammy
Tammy
12 years ago

I think the H1N1 hits people differently. My friend currently has it. Tested positive for normal flu and told because seasonal flu isn’t out yet, it must be H1N1. She said it’s not a big deal for her. She felt like she’d been hit by a truck for 24 hours, fever, no vomiting, no diarrehea. The next day she had already started to feel better. However, her daughter (11year old) had the fever, aches, vomiting and diarrhea and is still not feeling good. SO I think the experiences vary from one person to another. You could get the boys tested for seasonal flu and make a decision about the vaccine based on the results.

Tammy
Tammy
12 years ago

Amanda – Go to your Doc. In MD the nasal vaccine is here (so should be in your area too? )and they are giving it to Pregnant women and healthcare workers first.

Cheryl S.
Cheryl S.
12 years ago

Niice. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I honestly believe the CDC doesn’t want to know what the true numbers are. It would be scary. That said, they ARE still testing here in FL. A friend’s 14 y/o daughter had swine flu a week ago. UGh. At least the boys are over it.

Mary
Mary
12 years ago

What a monstorous night of hell, Linda. I’m so sorry, and I’m glad the little fellows are improving.

Not to add to the swarming hive of contradictory advice, but last night in my baby-havin’ class, the healthcare provider told us that yes, it’s very similar to the regular flu except that you cough more and the fever is significantly higher with H1N1. Like, 104. And of course she advised all of us preggos to just get the damn shot. Which doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. (Pregnant ladies are advised against the nose-snuff one because that’s a live vaccine, while the shot is dead.) There’s a good chance my husband had it a few weeks ago, and thank God in heaven I didn’t catch it.

Beth in SF
12 years ago

See, that’s the thing about that vaccine. Most people couldn’t even get it if they wanted it. The media makes it seem like we’re all going to DIE FROM THE SWINE FLU OMG, but then the medical industry is like, hold up there bucko, you’ll get that vaccine when we think you really need it.

BTW, your three levels of lips to the head temp. reading made me almost pee my pants. So funny. But so true :)

Kate
12 years ago

Ugh, there’s nothing worse than sick kids. In the middle of the night. Hope your night tonight is better.

On the topic of H1N1, after your previous posts and my own research, I asked my kids’ pediatrician about it while we were there for a routine check up. I was kind of on the fence about it, but we sat and talked for about 10 minutes just about H1N1 and I feel much better about, and even eager, to get it for myself & the family.

A few points he clarified for me…Oh, and his kids’ godfather is a director at the CDC so he’s got a direct line to the current info.

1. H1N1 has the capability to kill 30,000 people this season. That is scary and unacceptable.
2. The thimerasol that is used in the vac is organic which is apparently far less harmful than non-organic mercury which is found in tuna fish. He said you would get more mercury from eating a sandwhich than from getting the shot.
3. Every year when the flu vaccine is being developed, the testing and selection of the prevalent strain is done by about February. H1N1 wasn’t identified until April, after the regular flu vaccine was already being manufactured. The testing process & procedure is exactly the same for the H1N1 and it would have been included in the regular vac had it been identified in time. No corners are being cut in the testing; it is being “hurried” in the sense that they are working quicker on it, as in working 16 hr days instead of 8. It’s undergoing the same testing & procedures that every other flu vac goes thru, just at a quicker pace.
4. He had heard of the Canadian report of the regular vac increasing the chances of actually getting H1N1. The study was never published though. He said the US, Australia and another country have all reviewed their data from previous years and found no evidence that this is the case.

I work at a hospital and when one of our Infectious Disease doctors walked by I asked her “H1N1 flu shot for kids: yes or no?” And without much hesitation, she said YES.

So that’s what I found out. Fwiw, I am about 90 miles north of you Linda, so we’re in the same part of the country. And the pedi said H1N1 is running rather rampant up here right now.

sarah
sarah
12 years ago

I’d like to let you guys know my thought process behind testing for the flu. I’m an Emergency Medicine physician, so your ped’s opinion may vary. Lately I’ve been seeing people with symptoms that very well could be flu. I’m not testing routinely. There are a lot of false negatives with the test. It also sucks. Try sticking a swab up your nose until you feel like you’re going to do a brain biopsy. That’s what it feels like. If the test is positive, great. But if it’s negative, I’m still going to say “treat like the flu.” So unless you’re sick enough to be in the hospital, you’re going to get the same advice as far as treatment, so in my mind it’s not worth the cost of testing. And yes, as soon as the vaccines are available, my kids and I (and husband if I can convince him) are getting vaccinated.

No, there’s no vast conspiracy to keep the numbers hidden. It’s simple economics and trying to keep from overwhelming our already broken health care system. /end rant

Sundry
Sundry
12 years ago

Here’s what I was thinking, so it’s a little more clear I’m not freaking out about conspiracies and whatnot: I thought a positive test would mean we wouldn’t need to vaccinate, thus making more room for other people to get the vaccines. That’s why I thought they’d be willing to do the test. I didn’t expect any treatment suggestions other than the usual drink-fluids-get-rest advice (even though some folks seem to be getting Tamiflu, which is confusing). I guess if there are also a lot of false POSITIVES, too, the test seems almost completely pointless.

vegas710
12 years ago

Thank you, Kate, there is so much misinformation floating around!

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

I have a friend in Virginia near DC and when her kids got sick she was also told that they aren’t testing.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

I’m a primary care doc, but not a pediatrician, so can’t speak for kids. The H1N1 we are seeing has symptoms all over the map–almost always a fever, but can also have diarrhea, stomach upset, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.

The CDC is now recommending against routine testing of people who don’t need to be hospitalized because the rapid test is somewhere between 10 and 70% accurate. Yes, between 10 and 70%, so–not very accurate. Helpful in someone who has a life-threatening illness, not so helpful in someone who’s going home with Tamiflu and Tylenol. They are recommending just assuming it’s H1N1 and treating people who meet criteria for treatment. I will add that the nasopharyngeal swab is incredibly uncomfortable when done correctly–you really get back there and work the swab.

Finally, if everyone got tested, the people running the tests would not have time to do any other work.

Hope D & R are feeling better.

KF
KF
12 years ago

My non-mom two cents again: Vax it up – but wait for after the first-tier “gotta have it” vaccinations take place. Like, three weeks oughtta do it. That way, your dudes are stronger, the folks already vaccinated are well into full immunity, and the initial crush of humanity at the vax lines will be reduced.

KF
KF
12 years ago

P.S. “Hamthrax” = so much awesome

victoria
victoria
12 years ago

Linda, I don’t understand. You want your pediatrician to devote time & resources to determining whether your child “needs” a vaccine? Or can “get away with” not having a vaccine?

That’s like asking the State of Washington to devote time & resources to determining whether you “need” insurance, or whether you’re such a safe driver that you can reasonably “get away with” not getting it.

Courtney
12 years ago

Oh wow. What a terrible evening to have. Poor guys!

Sundry
Sundry
12 years ago

Victoria: uh, no, really I just wanted them to test my children to see if they had the H1N1 virus. Full stop. Maybe the extra explanation for WHY I wanted this done and how it would affect my own decision-making on the vaccine muddies the issue. It didn’t seem like a degrees-of-safe-driving issue, more like “Yes, your kid has swine flu” which would mean, to me, “Ergo, they don’t need the vaccination”.

I do have more of an understanding now why they aren’t doing widescale testing, and why the test itself may not be entirely accurate.

Restless Mama
12 years ago

Reading your comments sometimes makes me laugh because people don’t seem to get what you’re writing.
Anyway, you and your family are such troopers for toughing it out. I’m glad the little ones are feeling better and I’m hoping everything is 100% fast.
Cheers lady!