Staying Healthy During Flu Season- Flu Prevention and Treatment

 

Note to my regular readers-

The following is educational material penned by my school nurse persona as a guide for college students. While it’s not in sync with my usual comedic posts, it’s solid information worthy of being passed on. Regular whacky posts will resume immediately following.

Thank you for your patience and stay well!

 

 

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Protect yourself from the FLU!!!

The flu is caused by the influenza virus.

Antibiotics are therefore ineffective as it is a viral infection.

The most commonly prescribed medication for flu relief is called Tamiflu.

It does not cure the flu, but it may lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration.

Roughly speaking, flu season runs from October to April, reaching it’s peak in mid February.

Your best defense against the flu is prevention. You can arm yourself against the flu by observing the following measures-

Wash your hands OFTEN with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub.

Wash your hands for at least the length of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice.

Seriously… sing the Happy Birthday song.

ALWAYS wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, after blowing your nose or covering a cough.

Carry hand sanitizer during flu season.

Don’t share drinks or cigarettes.

Replace your toothbrush after you’ve been ill or sanitize it using boiling water. Keep your toothbrush isolated from other family members toothbrushes when you’re sick and vice versa.

Use disposable hand towels in your home or dorm room when you or others are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs ENTER the body.

Avoid close contact with sick people and stay out of crowded places.

Frequently sanitize shared items in your home and office like phones, computer keyboards, remote controls, (game controllers) door handles, refrigerator door handles and sink knobs.

Wash your hands or use sanitizer immediately after having contact with frequently touched surfaces in the community such as door handles, ATM and elevator buttons, hand rails, the check-out conveyer in stores and even the pen used (by God knows how many people) for signing credit card transactions.

Get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat healthy and DRINK PLENTY of fluids. *Limit caffeine and alcohol as they act as a mild diuretic causing your body to actually LOSE FLUID.

Stop or at least cut back on smoking. Smoking makes you more susceptible to illnesses like pneumonia, bronchitis and the flu, as well as increasing the intensity and duration of illness. Seriously. Cut back by one or two cigarettes per day. Yes, you CAN do it and it will help.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or use the crux of your arm.

If you have a flu-like illness stay home for 24 hours AFTER you’ve been fever free without the use of fever reducing medicines.

Ps- It is not too late to get a flu vaccination. Check with your local pharmacy for availability.

 

What’s the difference between the common cold and the flu?

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What do I do if I get the flu?

The answer is- you treat each symptom individually. For instance, if you have a fever and cough you treat exactly that.

 

Treatment of FEVER-

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Take fever reducing medicines- Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve)

Rest.

Dress in light clothing.

A tepid (not cold) bath should be considered for children with a high fever to prevent febrile seizures.

When to CALL YOUR DOCTOR or REPORT TO URGENT CARE for FEVER-

Temperature over 103 F

Fever lasting more than 72 hours

Fever unresponsive to fever reducing medicines

Stiff neck or severe headache

Severe abdominal pain

SORE THROAT-

Most SORE THROATS are caused by viruses and are usually accompanied by other cold symptoms (runny nose, cough, red or watery eyes or sneezing) This type of sore throat is self limiting and is not helped with antibiotics.

Only CONFIRMED cases of STREP throat caused by the streptococcal bacterial are treated with antibiotics. You can have a rapid strep test done in your physicians office or in an urgent care facility. Do not go to the emergency room for a sore throat unless you have difficulty breathing.

Symptoms of STREP throat include SEVERE sore throat which usually comes on QUICKLY, SEVERE pain with swallowing, fever over 101 F, red swollen tonsils sometimes with white patches or streaks, tiny red spots (petechaie) on the back or roof of the mouth, headache, nausea and vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, body aches and rash.

TREATMENT of sore throat symptoms-

Take a pain reliever like Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve)

Use throat relieving sprays like Chloraseptic or throat relieving lozenges like Sucrets. They have a temporary numbing effect and will diminish pain.

Drink warm beverages like tea, hot cocoa or broth.

Gargle with warm salt water.

Drink cold beverages, suck on ice chips or Popsicles.

When to CALL YOUR DOCTOR or REPORT TO URGENT CARE for SORE THROAT-

SEVERE sore throat that comes on QUICKLY

SEVERE pain with swallowing

Fever over 101 F

Red swollen tonsils sometimes with white patches or streaks or tiny red spots (petechaie) on the back or roof of the mouth

Nausea and vomiting

Swollen lymph nodes/glands

Accompanying rash

TREATMENT of COUGH accompanying a cold or bronchitis-

Drink plenty of fluids to loosen the mucous.

For DRY HACKING cough add HONEY to warm water, tea or lemon juice.

Use HUMIDIFIER in your bedroom closing the door to keep the steam in.

For a severe coughing attack turn on a hot shower, close the door and breath in the steam.

Don’t smoke.

Limit exposure to second hand smoke, dust, strong chemical fumes and perfumes.

Cough drops and/or hard candy can soothe or moisten throat and prevent coughing.

Elevate the head of your bed or use extra pillows.

Take cough medicine- being mindful when choosing the correct type as stated below. Suppressant vs. Expectorant.

*Take a cough SUPPRESSANT for a dry nonproductive cough. Acts to decrease coughing. Cough suppressants are products containing DEXTROMETHORPHAN.

*Take a cough EXPECTORANT for loose productive cough. Acts to thin mucous making it easier to cough up. Cough expectorants are products containing GUAIFENESIN. (Mucinex)

Read the label.

*CALL YOUR DOCTOR or REPORT TO URGENT CARE if you are-

Coughing up mucous that is thick green or brown

Coughing up blood

Have wheezing or shortness of breath

Have tightness or pain in your chest

Have difficulty breathing

Cases of SEVERE asthma or bronchitis may require steroids and/or nebulizer treatments only available by a health care provider.

BRONCHITIS is an inflammation of the bronchial passages that causes narrowing and the production of phlegm. It’s essentially treated the same as any cough (see above) with the exception that you should NOT take a cough suppressant for bronchitis.

Treatment of CONGESTION-

Increase your fluid intake. Drink at least 64 Oz (8 cups) per day. Warm fluids tend to have a better effect than cold. Fluids help to liquefy thick mucous. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Use a warm mist humidifier or breathe in warm mist from the shower. This will help to open airways, moisten and thin mucous. You can add ginger, eucalyptus, menthol or Vicks ointment to the water for maximum benefit.

Fill the sink with hot water, drape a towel over your head and breath in the steam if you do not have a humidifier or shower available to you.

Take a DECONGESTANT- Sudafed.

Take NSAID pain relievers to help with pain and swelling- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve).

For nasal stuffiness try saline irrigation (Neti pot) or saline sprays. This helps to thin mucous, moisten mucous membranes and may remove virus or bacterial particles.

For INSTANT and TEMPORARY relief from nasal stuffiness consider DECONGESTANT NASAL SPRAYS like Afrin or Neo-Synephrine. *It is very important not to use these for longer than 3 days, as this type medication can cause rebound nasal congestion. (Chronic nasal stuffiness) I cannot stress this enough. *Alternate nasal spray with plain saline spray for best results.

Apply warm compresses (warm wash cloth or sock filled with rice and heated in microwave) to your face to relieve sinus congestion and pain.

Keep your head elevated with pillows or sleep in a recliner.

Spicy foods can help alleviate congestion. Pepper, garlic, hot curry powder, ginger, chili peppers.

Hot CHICKEN SOUP thins mucous, improves the function of cilia (hairlike projections in nasal passages that protect the body from foreign bacteria and viruses) and may also improve the motion of disease-fighting white blood cells.

*When to CALL YOUR DOCTOR or REPORT TO URGENT CARE for congestion or sinus related problems-

Fever 101 or greater

Sudden severe pain in face or head

Double vision or change in vision

Confusion or difficulty concentrating

Swelling and/or redness around one or both eyes

Stiff neck

Shortness of breath

Remember to consult your doctor or report to an urgent care facility if your symptoms are not an EMERGENCY.

The emergency room should be reserved for actual emergencies like difficulty breathing, chest pain, seizures, unbearable pain or traumatic injuries that must be treated immediately.

Immediately means symptoms that are potentially life threatening and cannot wait.

A sinus infection, cold or cough (without difficulty breathing) are NOT emergencies. Wounds requiring sutures can usually be treated in an Urgent Care facility, but may be case sensitive.

Use your best judgement.

*Disclosure- this guide is in no way intended to replace the advice of your physician. This is not medical advice. It’s purpose is to aid in managing your symptoms and to guide you in making prudent health decisions.

Stay well!

Nurse Gina

 

My Ghost Life…

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If I die young, do not mourn me, for I have very important work to do in the afterlife.

By work, I mean Hauntings.

You betcha, I’m going to be like Casper’s evil brothers except with residual estrogen… so waaaay scarier.

I’m not a firm believer in Karma, so I’m compiling a list of people I’m going to visit regularly as an apparition.

Mostly, they’re the same people I have voodoo dolls of at the present time. The list is mostly made up of coaches, teachers, bosses- people who used their authority for evil rather than good and unfortunately for them… I was involved in the crossfire. More specifically speaking- people who wronged my kids, even if it was unknowingly.

Worse offense ever.

I’m an avid watcher of A Haunting and I’ve seen every episode at least once, so I know which techniques will produce the best results.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited about this. And, it’s not gonna be only three nights like Ebenezer Scrooge and <<poof!>> they’re exonerated. Nope. I plan on moving in with a couple of them.

I also planning on enlisting all of my deceased dogs and cats as my accomplices. We can cover more territory.

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Everyone knows pets are the most devout creatures on earth, so it could get ugly for a chosen few. Also, cats are assholes when they’re alive, so dead they ought to be like a scene out of the Exorcist except with teeth and claws.

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I’m hoping anyway.

If you and I happened to be friends during my time on Earth, know that It’s me performing random ghostly acts to cheer you up or make you giggle.

Like if your boss falls down the stairs carrying an extra large coffee… It was me who pushed her.

You’re very welcome.

The point of this story?

I happen to believe the “other side” has a lot of potential.

Who knows, it may even be better over there.

When my time comes to cross over, please celebrate my new adventure. Even though I’m physically gone from Earth, I have absolutely no intentions of going away.

Ps- I’m dead serious about this whole thing.

I totally believe in spirits.

Pss- you probably stay on my good side.

 

 

Romance, Reality and Expectations

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I began writing this reply in response to a post written by a disgruntled wife in one of my Facebook groups who’s husband was once again disappointing her on Valentine’s Day.

Anyway, I believe her issue is pretty universal, so I decided to share my reply…

Married, coupled or single, we get into trouble when we give someone else the sacred key to our happiness. Today you are among masses of people relying on someone ELSE to make their day special. Biggest mistake ever. Not only today, but the other 364 days of the year as well. Hold on to your happiness key with two hands. It belongs to you and you alone.

It’s not too late to turn this day around and make it about love… for your children, family, pets, students if you teach, customers if you’re in retail, patients if you’re in the medical profession. Get involved in a charity or cause online. The authentic warm fuzzy GOOD feeling you get from serving others far surpasses the random scraps of affection you feel are owed to you by others. Spouse and/or significant other included. You just can’t rely on other people. Ever.

Valentine’s Day is probably the biggest kill joy of all preconceived expectations. Everyone has that ideal picture in their mind of how “it’s supposed to be.” Problem is… it’s in YOUR mind and other people don’t necessarily have the script and even if they did, it doesn’t mean they’d meet YOUR expectations. Switch this day (or your life) up, grab that key and never look back.

You need to put YOURSELF in the drivers seat if you’re going to find happy. If others want to tag along… great, the more the merrier. But, remember that they are merely passengers and this is your journey. The minute you hand someone else the key to your happiness, you lose control of your vehicle and at some point, even if it’s a fender bender… you will crash.

If you’ve allowed someone else to set your GPS for this February 14th… or perhaps your entire life, NOW would be a great time to revoke those privileges and grab the wheel back.

You’ve had the happy key all along.

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Happy Friday, Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Lifetime to you.

Xoxo

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Valentines Day is Chocolate Covered Bullshit

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Why I happen to think Valentine’s Day is chocolate covered bullshit-

Just to be crystal clear, we’re talking about the crappy cheap-O imitation chocolate that tastes like wax and doesn’t remotely resemble anything similar to the devine authentic cocoa product from Heaven above.

So, why exactly is Valentines Day the equivalent of fake chocolate that tastes more like a diarrhea brown colored crayon?

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Let’s start with… you’re only invited to participate in this celebration if the planets line up in a anatomically correct heart shape where the left ventricle is positioned directly under the North Star or another human (who you don’t hate) happens to be romantically involved and/or interested in you.

Otherwise, you’re gonna have to sit this one out.

Valentines Day is a couples ONLY celebration.

Unfortunately, years of sappy Valentines Day propaganda has conditioned many people who are predominantly naive young girls to feel shitty and unloved every 365 days or planet rotation around the sun.

Like clockwork.

“Oh you don’t have a boyfriend? I’m sorry that you suck you grotesque unlovable troll. Go jump in the putrid singles swamp.”

Society is all like… Ladies, February 14th is Judgement Day. You will be evaluated on your worthiness as a female homosapien based on how much affection you draw in this event.

By affection I actually mean material goods.

Stuff.

Good ole romantic overpriced and senseless merchandise.

Cha ching$

It’s much like the a game of craps where it’s just a random flip of the coin and you have absolutely no control how it’ll pan out for you.

Heads… you suck rotten eggs directly outta the maggot infested compost bin, tails… you rule the Earth. You sexy love Goddess you!!

Worthiness is awarded on the following-

If you’re fortunate to be gifted with the following items you’re a WINNER!!

*A dozen long stemmed red roses

*Chocolates in a HEART SHAPED box that’s bigger than your head

*A surprise romantic get-away involving a bed you don’t have to make, a relaxing soak in the hot tub, free food and spirits.

The following presents will get you… FIRST RUNNER UP. Which is pretty much a fail.

You’ll always be a bridesmaid or the second rate best friend.

*A half dozen long stemmed roses or roses that aren’t red. Apparently he doesn’t love you in tones blood red scarlet. The same exact shade that pumps through the cardiac muscle… that supposedly rules emotions.

More bullshit right there ladies and gentlemen. The heart nonsense, I mean.

News flash- The cardiac muscle keeps your sorry ass alive and all it cares about is getting enough oxygen.

Honey Badger Heart don’t care about bullshit love.

*Also, in the runner up category are HEART SHAPED boxes smaller than your head but larger than your hand.

Lastly, LOSING gifts include…

*HEART SHAPED boxes smaller than your hand that are imprinted with cartoon graphics or candy bars straight from the vending machine.

*Flowers that aren’t roses.

Incidentally, should you get cheesy carnations, you’re about as desirable as a female Bigfoot with a bad case of the mange.  Carnations are the epitome of the flower world and their only place is at funerals.

I’m sorry but I don’t make the rules. See page 13 in the Valentine’s Day for Dummies handbook.

The rules were established by greedy retailers who made the societal sheep drink cherry Kool aid out of heart shaped crazy straws until their brains imploded and they succumbed to all that is heart shaped, completely nonsensical and overpriced.

*Lastly, stuffed animals bearing cheesy love quotes are also gift fails if you happen to be older than 16.

Jewelry is always a sore subject because there’s no winning here.

Plainly stated, if you’re in a serious relationship and you’re not giving her an engagement ring, you’re fucked. Whether you realize it or not, she’s secretly wishing for the Holy Grail ring. Anything that’s not this coveted treasure is an automatic fail. You might as well just wrap a box of donkey poop, because it’s all you’re gonna get credit for. Plus, this will save you a butt load of money.

In fact, when you’re in a SERIOUS relationship ALL Valentine’s Days will be considered fails until the very moment she has King Tuts ring of love and worthiness. Know this gentlemen. I speak the truth.

I’m also very sorry about this. Society can be a real pain in ass when it comes to blowing shit out of proportion and creating bullshit expectations.

Just… fuck.

It’s just a big insignificant game of Valentine’s Roulette.

Let’s forget we’re discussing Valentines Day and think logically just for a moment.

Pass the talking stick to the brain.

What if… we designate a day when couples celebrate their sappy love for one another like perhaps their anniversary? You know, the day they intentionally made a commitment.

Sounds logical to me.

This would eliminate the need to drag everyone else who’s not necessary tethered with a ball and chain to a monkey and/or a significant other through Valentines cow manure.

Thus putting an end to the annual bloody massacre of lonely young girls by drunk cupids playing GI Joe with pink and red polka dotted AK 47′s.

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Valentine’s Day bites.

I for one think it does more harm than good. Men and boys everywhere are getting screwed both literally (these guys will pay later, mark my words. In fact they’d be better off slipping into a cactus condom and getting the pain over with immediately) and figuratively. Conditions are perfect. The stage is set for the boys and men to fuck up.

In a nutshell, the best they can hope for is to maintain their current standing and not clinch a lifelong spot in the Valentines Hall of Shame.

Seriously ladies, if you need a man or his meaningless overpriced gifts like flowers and candy to complete you or make you feel happy and loved… you’re screwed.

Not-so-common sense strongly advises that we never rely on others for our own happiness and/or fulfillment.

Happiness comes from within. It’s not something another person presents to you in a vase or a giant heart shaped box.

The whole Valentine tradition has created unrealistic expectations and has in turn made masses miserable.

In all fairness, I acknowledge that YES, plenty of women absolutely love being showered with surprise gifts (that they are totally expecting) and extra affection from their sweety pie. For them, February 14th is a gooey sweet indulgence that they feel is well deserved.

Fair enough princesses. Enjoy the spotlight.

I happen to think the feelings of isolation and desperation it casts on so many lonely hearts is hardly worth celebrating.

A day dedicated to couples only is absolutely an event based on exclusion.

For this reason I think Valentines Day sucks rotten eggs.

Not the Cadbury kind.

It would be different if the overall theme of Valentine’s Day was to simply celebrate LOVE.

Not couples love, but love of family, love of friends, love for humanity, love for all creatures large and small.

I could really get into a day dedicated to plain ole LOVE.

Showing LOVE through random acts of kindness has the extra added benefit of making the giver feel warm and fuzzy. Because it feels right.

I encourage you to go for it. Do something nice for someone. Anyone.

If you don’t already have a pet and have the means to care for one, I recommend bringing a dog or cat into your life.

Dogs happen to be the only creature on Earth who display the ability to unconditionally love someone else more than they love themselves.

You can’t beat the love of a dog.

Dogs are absolutely mans best friend… and a girls too.

Happy Hearts Day to ALL of the wonderful people in my life.

xoxo

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