Last year at this time, the country was in panic mode over the spread of H1N1 and people were lining up at free public H1N1 flu shot clinics as soon as they became available. This year seems to be calmer. It helps knowing this year's flu shot includes protection from H1N1. It certainly helped relieve some angst for one Sioux Falls woman who got hit hard from the virus last year and never wants to repeat it.
Krista Coughlin is a registered nurse at the Avera Heart Hospital. She is also a wife and mother to two young children. Last September 2009 her whole family got sick with H1N1, but she definitely had it the worse. Remember, that was before the vaccine was available to even health care workers.
Krista tells us, "We all had al little bit different symptoms. The kids had high fevers and more vomiting with it. My husband and I had really high fevers for the first 4 or 5 days and then by the 5th day there was a headache component. It was so severe. I've never had a migraine before but anytime I would move I would throw up. My headache was so bad it scared me plus the body aches. I felt so miserable. I went to the doctor and they thought a sinus infection had started so they put me on antibiotics."
Her kids and husband missed 10 days of school and work and as they got better she got worse. Intramuscular shots of strong antibiotics weren't even helping.
Krista says, "I was absolutely miserable. At this point I couldn't function. My kids were scared.
Krista had been on antibiotics for a month when she took a turn for the worse. She got an extremely high fever, she was dizzy, she couldn't keep anything down and that's when she was admitted into the hospital. She was in Avera McKennan for 3 days.
Krista says, "I did get better, but: it took a lot of fluids. I was so dehydrated. I had lost 10 to 15 pounds in the process. I was on IV antibiotics and IV steroids, nebulizer just a ton of fluids and then I quickly turned around."
This year's flu vaccine protects against last years strain of H1N1 plus strains of Influenza A and Influenza B. Krista was relieved to get it early this year.
Certified Infection Control Nurse with Avera Health Dawn Tomac says, "Influenza is the 7th leading cause of death in adults in the US. 36,000 people die every year from influenza. I don't think people realize that. They think it's infection that you get or people say I never sick.
Krista says, "I was so unbelievably sick and I was completely healthy, a holistic person and a big runner. It took me down really fast.
Because her body was so busy trying to fight off H1N1, it couldn't fend off the sinus infection that accompanied it. It ended up taking her out of work for 2 months, but even worse, she missed two valuable months with her family. She says the 2 minutes it takes to get a shot is so worth every second.
This is the first year the CDC is recommending that everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot. The sooner the better!