Snowmaggeddon may have been much ado about nothing, but this year’s flu isn’t.
Like the would-be storm of the century, I heard a lot about this flu. Most notable was how it mutated and is not prevented by this year’s vaccine in most individuals, the Center for Disease Control having guessed wrong on which strain would take hold. It ended up being a form of H3N2, typically stronger than the more common H1N1 and B seasonal varieties.
A less-restrained H3N2 could bring upon the worst US flu epidemic in decades, we were then warned. In fact, as of New Year’s Day there were already double the number of flu hospitalizations compared to that point a year ago.
And while our three feet of snow and power outages never materialized, the flu did, for me at least. Barely two days after my last post, I left work early Thursday and spent nearly 100 hours – until Monday around noon – laying on the couch.
Over four days of painful inactivity and ESPN overload, I learned more about football inflation than I ever thought possible, with a good helping of Black’ish, a drama called Spirals, and, of course, the Honorable Judge Mathis.
Perhaps more frustrating than the extreme weakness and the unrelenting back, neck, and head aches was the mental shutdown. Simple understanding and coherent self-expression was a struggle. These effects outlasted most physical symptoms, well into Tuesday.
For better or worse, we won’t believe the next blizzard hysteria until we can feel the snow above our knees. Residents with risk factors for complications can’t afford to wait and see with this year’s flu. See the CDC’s guide for prevention and care information.