The main reason I haven’t been blogging lately is that I have been seriously under the weather for the past week or so. These days people are seeing swine flu in every case of the sniffles, but I am unconvinced.

My symptoms: fever, cough, general achiness, fatigue, sore throat are certainly consistent with swine flu, but they are also pretty generic. All I can say is that even when things were at their worst on Monday and Tuesday (I was shivering in eighty-five degree weather) things never went from “Very Unpleasant” to “Pondering the Afterlife.” I didn’t even cancel any of my classes, though I did cancel some office hours to get home and back into bed more quickly.

I am happy to report that whatever I had has responded well to my aggressive treatment with bed rest, matzoh ball soup, and over-the-counter drugs. I have now been fever-free for over twenty-four hours, and I am no longer concerned that my lungs are going to come flying out of my mouth with the next coughing fit. I still have a mild, lingering cough, and I am hoarse to the point of having almost no voice, but otherwise it seems things are back to normal. Yay!


  1. #1 Greg Laden
    September 12, 2009

    You totally ruined the experiment by adding the matzoh ball soup into the mix. It’s practically a super placebo! Anyway, glad to hear you are much improved!

  2. #2 Delphine
    September 12, 2009

    Swine flu is supposed to be pretty unimpressive. There are two reasons why WHO is having a party with it:

    1. US just developed technology to track the progress of a disease. Even if swine flu turns out to be nothing, it’s a good chance to practice in case of future emergencies.

    2. Our bodies have not seen this new strand of flu before, so it will spread twice as easily as normal flu strands. Normal flus, all strands, together, kill roughly 45k people in the US every year. They’re expecting swine flu to kill 90k. It’s not because people with swine flu has more risk of death, but because they’re expecting that many more people to become ill.

  3. #3 Brian English
    September 12, 2009

    Here in OZ, swine flu was meant to presage the end of times when it was first announced (media don’t do measure very well), I think the count of deaths attributes to swine flue is in the low hundreds (mostly immuno compromised or elderly), and winters done with us now. While thoses deaths are tragic for their families and friends, they wouldn’t be as many as the ordinary versions of flu kill each year. It seems swine flu can spread well, but it more like a bad cold, then a kick arse flu.

  4. #4 NewEnglandBob
    September 12, 2009

    If it had been chicken soup, you would have been better at least 3 hours earlier.

  5. #5 Heraclides
    September 12, 2009

    Just to balance the nay-sayers, there were a decent number of infected in the ICUs (intensive care units) in New Zealand and Australia, so it can certainly be serious for some.

    I agree with Delphine that a key issue is the larger number of people infected compared to “seasonal” flu’s; it’s a point I’ve had to repeat on a number of comment threads of local media articles. The media just didn’t seem to “get” this point for some reason.

    Brian English, my understanding is that, comparatively speaking, the people mostly at high risk were those with “other complications” (diabetes, pregnancy, gross obesity, etc.) and there were more serious affected from the 5-50 age group than usually seen. (The “immuno compromised or elderly” is the dominant group of badly affected for flu’s in general, however.)

  6. #6 Jason Rosenhouse
    September 12, 2009

    NewEnglandBob –

    Matzoh Ball Soup is chicken soup with matzoh balls in it.

  7. #7 Tony P
    September 12, 2009

    It seems to be making the rounds here too, same symptoms. I don’t have it but people around me do have it.

    Instead I’ve got the itchy, runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy throat thing. Yep, ragweed allergy.

  8. #8 Orac
    September 12, 2009

    I didn’t even cancel any of my classes, though I did cancel some office hours to get home and back into bed more quickly.

    I hate to tell you this, but that was highly irresponsible of you. You put your students and coworkers at risk for catching whatever it was that you had. You should have stayed home from work. It’s attitudes like yours that spread the flu, be it the swine flu or the regular seasonal flu.

  9. #9 Skeptico
    September 12, 2009

    Orac just beat me to it. I’m sure your students and fellow workers will thank you for infecting them too. Go flu!

  10. #10 DRK
    September 12, 2009

    I thought swine flu had gastro-intestinal symptoms as well.

  11. #11 Jason Rosenhouse
    September 12, 2009

    My students are way ahead of me. The classroom already sounds like a hospital with everyone coughing, sniffling and blowing their noses. The stay home if you’re sick ship has sailed long ago.

  12. #12 Andre
    September 12, 2009

    Maybe as a professor the thing to do is teach your students about what to do when sick and start with teaching by example. Explain to them why classes were canceled and advise them to do the same.

    The “everyone else is doing it” trope shouldn’t cut it. I don’t know how anybody isn’t aware of the “stay home until 24 hours after your fever subsides” rule for anything, not just the swine flu.

  13. #13 Galen Evans
    September 12, 2009

    Its great to hear you seem to be better, Re: the stay home if you are sick thin, while very nice in principle, for many people in this country it is just unfeasible. if i miss 3 days of work because I’m feeling a bit sick, then I am looking at inability to pay bills or purchase food. those of you who can take sick days from work, its a great idea, but remember lots of these things are spread from people who don’t have the option of taking sick days. if you want to stop infectious diseases like the flue quicker, help the people in poverty and promote economic justice. (not that you all Don’t, i just think its another way that we can all se how connected everything is and the importance of economic justice in all areas) That is all.

  14. #14 Chris M
    September 12, 2009

    According to the CDC, the mortality rate for swine flu is 1 in 200. It’s mildly unpleasant for all the rest. (Myself included – I’ve been home sick with the same symptoms you had for 3 days now.) I agree with Orac, going to class was highly irresponsible. I’m sure I got my flu (not confirmed swine or not…) from someone who, like you, was toughing it out.

    I really like your blog, but your blase attitude is a bit surprising. You sound like the anti-vaxers “yeah, measles only kills 1 in 2000, I got over it, what’s the big deal?”

    I have a 3 month old baby at home, and the prospect of him getting this from me as resulted in me locking myself in an upstairs bedroom the moment I got home from the doctor’s office. (That’s not an over-reaction, doc’s orders.) If if kid got seriously ill, (1 in 100) I’d feel absolutely terrible.

  15. #15 Crandaddy
    September 13, 2009

    I’m sick of all the swine flu BS (pun intended). I probably won’t even get a flu shot out of mere laziness, but of course I’ll dredge up some excuse for good measure (like my negligible allergy to egg whites–even though I eat eggs all the time).

    Anyway, glad you’re better, Jason.

  16. #16 Strider
    September 13, 2009

    I’m with Orac. Not cool to go to work with the flu!

  17. #17 red rabbit
    September 13, 2009

    Best known treatment for flu and cold…. matzoh ball soup and tylenol. I get the hairy eye from my patients when I tell them that.

    Another doc saying, stay home next time.

    @ Galen, you’re totally right of course, but for JR, I doubt 3 days of cancelled classes would have risked the mortgage. There are people for whom it is economically unfeasible to stay home. There are lots of people who would go to work sick in order to “save” sick days for a nice day to go fishing.

    There are also laws about being in public with communicable infections (buses, undergrounds….) which might come into play if new flus get more common.

  18. #18 Galen Evans
    September 13, 2009

    Im sure it would be fine for JR to have stayed home a few days while sick, I just think that people need to be more aware of where we as a nation fail at providing economic justice (pretty much everywhere).I think it would be great if we could get to a place where people with infectious deceases could always stay home, but that is just not currently the case. So yes, JR definitely should have stayed home and not ricked other people, but we must also remember that this is an area where we as a nation need to commit ourselves to the ideas of justice for all. if only for the selfish motives of lessening the damage and spread of infectious diseases.

    So yes, my previous post should not have been read to mean that JR couldn’t/shouldn’t have stayed home, but instead as a side point meant to reveal the economic injustice of our system.

    And yes, you shouldn’t save sick days to go fishing, but i hear doctors recommending a day of fishing when you are sick of work…. 😛

  19. #19 Amber
    September 14, 2009

    I’m glad you’re feeling better!

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