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My 10-Day Ordeal With the Swine Flu
Date:11/12/2009

Reporter recounts her bout with H1N1, made all the worse by chronic asthma

THURSDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Like most people, I've been following the news about the H1N1 swine flu with some concern. Unlike most people, however, I've spent years interviewing doctors.

And from the many hours talking with infectious-disease specialists, I knew that it was never a matter of if there might be another flu pandemic, but when.

The question was, would H1N1 turn out to be that dangerous pandemic flu, or not?

Since most reports of H1N1 swine flu have described a mild illness for the majority of those infected, I wasn't especially worried for my family or for myself.

Perhaps I should have been, because, despite repeated reports from health experts around the world that the swine flu isn't all that bad as far as flu goes, it can pose serious problems for those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

And I have asthma.

Still, I took the few precautions that all of those doctors have always told me -- thorough hand washing, not sharing hand towels, wiping down common surfaces like doorknobs and phones with antimicrobial products -- and we planned on getting the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it became available.

But, at the start of school this year, flu quickly spread through my daughter's high school. It turned out those disinfectant gel stations scattered throughout the school were no match for a quickly replicating virus. My daughter ended up missing her second full week of school because she had a fever, muscle aches, a sore throat and a persistent cough. Her doctor ruled out strep, and when I asked if she had H1N1 swine flu, he said, "Could be."

By Thursday of that week, I started feeling very tired and achy, but not terrible. By Friday night, I'd developed a slight fever and was coughing a bit, but still didn't feel awful.
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