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?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

    Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

    £8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

    Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

    Day In a Page

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border