For Your Information

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

There seems to be a great deal of confusion over something and I cannot hold my tongue any longer. I must educate the masses, or kill them, and this seems less messy.

Now, a quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be (okay, sometimes I do), however, I am well educated in this area, and trust me, I have some idea of what I'm talking about.

Now that that is out of the way...

There is a vaccine available to the masses that many people get each year, in fact, my own work provided it to employees: the "Flu" vaccine.

The Flu, which is an abbreviation for the full name, Influenza, is a miserable virus that makes its way through the country every year in the winter time (usually because people are spending more time indoors with others). It's primary symptoms are: fever, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches and a general feeling that death is surely more comfortable than this disease (that last symptom is courtesy of my own personal experience, by the way).

What you don't see on that list of flu symptoms is vomiting, diarrhea, or feeling like you'd rather rip your entire gastric tract out of your body than suffer another hour of misery (again, that last one is all me). Because that type of virus is NOT the flu. People sometimes call it the stomach flu, but it's not the same thing that the vaccine protects. It's not technically the "flu" at all.

What it is is usually rotovirus or norovirus, both of which are highly contagious. You can infect someone one day before you have any symptoms and for three full days after symptoms subside. It is disgusting, and it is spreading around my work like wildfire.

I cannot tell you how many times I hear people say, "oh, well, I'm sure glad I got the flu vaccine!" Or, "next year she'll get vaccinated!" Or my favorite, "that vaccine doesn't work at all. I was vaccinated and I still got it."

Seriously. People, the flu and the stomach viruses (that I fear more than rats, snakes and tornadoes put together), are not the same thing.

As someone who a) cannot get the flu vaccine due to an allergy and b) would like to avoid a stomach virus like the plague, I beg that you please do not feel confident in your immunity and WASH YOUR HANDS. And stay home if you are sick. PLEASE. I am begging you.

I had to substitute for another teacher today who came to work sick yesterday and went home throwing up. She came to work again today and went home throwing up again. And then I had to touch her desk and her stuff and I wanted to saw my hand off on the spot. Instead, I came home and showered because two days worth of germs exist in that room and I don't need a single one of them.

She was unable to complete a full day, but had the ability to infect some 40-odd students in the morning before she left. And now I will have to deal with the ramifications of this. Because these stomach viruses don't stop until they've knocked down everyone in their path.


So this concludes today's lesson. Go out and share the good news.

Seriously. Spread the word, not the germs.

You're welcome.


Flea said...

Bwahahaha! You live in New Orleans! I'm sorry to laugh, but I know, first hand, the ignorance of the general population there, educated and unwashed masses alike. You carry a bottle of Purell, right? It's better than sawing off your hand. I think.

Lipstick Jungle said...

I just posted about this myself in my not me mondays. I have an aunt who INSISTED as she sat at the NYE dinner table that not only does the stomach flu COME from the shot, but that if you have the respiratory flu you wont get the stomach flu.


And now it has hit my family. I have been feeling crappy (pun intended) since yesterday. Husband had it Monday. Can't wait until the kids get it for the weekend. YAY US!

the queen said...

Someone came to work today with cough, a comically squeaky voice, and she said she would have stayed at home but she wanted us to remember what she looked like.

I decided I should devote a corner of my new white board to my leukocyte count. Like:
Normal - 4000-8000 WBC
Me - 1800-2000 WBC

Lanny said...

Amen Sista! Why don't people know the difference.

Carleen said...

I have been known to ask students to leave class when they come in coughing, sneezing, runny nosed, etc. Jeez, common sense ought to kick in at some point and knock these people upside the head with the notion that germs are something that we should all be selfish with!

Anonymous said...

Amen! I hate it that, too! I got the flu shot (and haven't gotten influenza yet!) but the stomach flu is totally different, and I did get that. And it was horrible. I, too, have a fear of vomiting (probably not as bad as you, but I still get panicky when I start to feel nauseated), and I had made it 12 years without getting the stomach flu, and then, a couple weeks ago ... ick.

Good luck staying healthy! Wash your hands a lot!!

Jenny (a lurker who is really enjoying your blog)

kim-d said...

Yes, I am one of those idiot, low-class, degenerate members of the hoi polloi who thought it was the flu when I was shitting and puking my brains out at the same time. You were kind enough to set me straight then, but now I am understanding why the kindness had a bit of a snarky undertone. Well maybe a lot of plain old snarkyness. Heaven forbid I should ever make that mistake again; I promise I won't. It's just that everytime I've had what you call the flu, my stupid idiot doctor (who they probably save just for the most idiotic of patients), he calls it a respiratory infection. But, ya know Dr. Mrs. Slappy, since having my flu shot, I HAVE NOT had a respiratory infection! On the other hand, I don't care if its flu, rotovirus or rotorooter, I stay home if I don't feel good.

Too bad your fellow educator didn't cause YOU ARE SO GONNA GET IT, AND IT IS BEYOND NASTY. And then you're going to get a headache from puking with such force. And a hint from an experienced person, when you sit on the toilet, grab something to use for the other end. Just a little something for you to look forward to. CAUSE YOU ARE SO GONNA GET IT.

Love, Kisses & Hugs,

Kim D.

Overflowing Brain said...


I reject your love and kisses! I will NOT get it. I will not I will not I will not.

I'm trying to use sheer force of will to raise my immune system to the challenge.