A rough start to 2018

Share Button

I struggled with Influenza A for more than two weeks over the holiday season. This flu strain is circulating across Canada, making people seriously sick in southern Ontario and now in the north. I’ve had serious flus in the past and in particular one that I picked up travelling in Asia and India. That flu took me months to get over.

This flu has been wicked and I am still recovering. I do my best to stay in good health, and am in good shape so I survived it. But many people over 65, people with health complications and the very young actually die from this influenza. Influenza A is a killer for some and that’s why we should be informing the public that it’s in the area. Elderly people should be very careful and we should all take great care in making sure we don’t pass it on to them.

Complications from the flu can include pneumonia. On average, the flu sends about 12,200 patients to hospitals and causes 3,500 deaths in Canada. Symptoms of the flu appear about one to four days after you have picked it up but it is very contagious right from the start, before you have any symptoms. This means it spreads rapidly and is far reaching. If you’re lucky, you will recover in a week or two but sometimes people get secondary infections that are bacterial and end up with pneumonia and other dangerous conditions.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, headache, cough, chills, stuffed-up feeling, sore throat, weakness and loss of appetite. Influenza A is more serious than its cousins B and C and must be treated early on. See your doctor if you think you have it. I’ve heard reports that there is limited swabbing these days to test for which kind of flu you have so I’m not sure what that means in terms of the big picture.

I went to see a medical professional at the local clinic, but I had to push to get in to see him. He checked my lungs and suggested I seemed to be doing well with it, but prescribed an antibiotic and puffer for my friend who is older. He also had an X-ray done of my friend’s lungs and that information showed that there was some concern. He ended up taking the antibiotic with the concern that there might be the risk of pneumonia in his case. The doctor suggested we keep up with what we had been doing in resting, staying warm, drinking lots of liquids and taking vitamin C. Many people believe in taking natural remedies like essential oils. I tried oil of oregano and I think it helped but I am not at all that sure.

The problem with Influenza A is that it can get away on you very quickly so if you are at risk you should see your doctor as early as possible. There is a pushback from the medical community that suggests people should stay home, get rest and drink lots of liquids rather than show up at emergency where you might just make others sick too. However, you are your own best health advocate when it comes down to it and if you are concerned then get to a doctor and if necessary get to emerge.

On another northern health and safety note I was very sad to hear that Gilbert Cheechoo Sr., of Moose Cree First Nation, passed away after a recent automobile accident on icy northern roads. I always enjoyed meeting Gilbert as he was so encouraging towards me. He believed that young Aboriginal people were the future and he did his very best to blaze the trail for us. He was an excellent manager, political figure and traditional man. My condolences go out to his family, friends and all the people of the James Bay coast in the wake of such a huge loss. Meegwetch Gilbert for your kindness, humour, energy and strength that you shared so freely with us all. We need to do something to stop the tragic deaths that occur on our dangerous, icy northern roads. Maybe it is time to bring back the trains.

Share Button

Comments are closed.