What to do if you...catch swine flu


Dan Carrier, 36, is a journalist and single father from north London. He suffered from a virulent attack of swine flu last summer, which took him more than a month to recover from

"I started to feel ill on my way back from a music festival but thought I was just run down and suffering from having spent a weekend in a field with 10,000 people. Hours after I got home, the temperature hit me and so started what was one of the nastiest experiences in my life.

"I've had the flu before but this was nothing like the normal two weeks when you feel exhausted, can't eat, are shivery and stay in bed; this was much worse – I was beside myself. I lost all concept of time and was delirious with the high temperature, which lasted more than a week. Even after that, every time I thought I felt a bit better and would stagger to the sofa, I'd just collapse again. It's really important to take paracetamol regularly to keep the temperature down as much as you can, and make sure you've got someone who'll make you drink loads of fluids.

"After the first few days, when I kept feeling worse and worse, I called my GP, who told me not to come in but to call the flu helpline instead. The person on the other end of the line did what felt like a box-ticking exercise and asked me things like: 'Do you feel ill, quite ill or very ill?' She then diagnosed me with swine flu and prescribed Tamiflu, but my sister, who's a GP, said it was too late to bother with it so I didn't take it. Ring the flu line early otherwise don't bother wasting NHS money getting Tamiflu; just stay in bed, rest and take paracetamol.

"My son Luc, who'll be six soon, spends half his week living with me but it just so happened that the week I first got sick his mum was away for the whole week, as were my mum and dad. I didn't even have the energy to organise alternative child care, but luckily I've got friends and other family to help out. Luc was really good and played in the lounge a lot, but there was obviously a time when I needed to be in quarantine and was just sleeping all the time. People would come round, pick him up for the day, take him out, then bring him back and put him to bed for me. They'd leave me big bowls of soup outside my bedroom door, it was really sweet.

"Once you've got the symptoms, quarantine yourself and don't be selfish and try to go out, because you'll just infect everyone else. You'll feel so bad that it's impossible to cook for yourself, so make sure someone can help look after you if you live on your own. You've just got to accept that you're going to be knocked out for a month and make arrangements for other people to help you with everything. I was actually on annual leave for some of the time but I've still never had so many days off work. Even after a month I didn't feel myself. I'd walk to the shops and have to go back to bed for a sleep straight afterwards. I tried to go on a camping holiday with my sister more than a month later because I thought the fresh air would help me recuperate, but ended up coming home because I was so exhausted.

"Lots of children in Luc's school were off with swine flu before the summer holidays, so I think if he was going to get it, he would already have had it. But, if there's a second wave and the school or the GP advises me to vaccinate him, I will. I'm definitely not worried about the vaccine safety. But otherwise I'm not going to do anything different with him. If he gets it, we'll cope with it. I do worry about the strain on the NHS so I don't think everyone should get the vaccine. But people with health problems that make them more risky, I think they should take the advice and get vaccinated. Otherwise prepare for a really horrible month."

For the NHS helpline, call 0800 1 513 100 or visit nhs.uk

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

    £35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most