An Abnormal Flu

sickIn the abnormal spirit of this blog, this short post is about abnormal (atypical) flu symptoms.

I’ve been dragging around the house for over a week, feeling like I’m almost about to come down with a really bad case of the flu, but not quite. I have many of the main symptoms: shivering and chills without fever, aches, and severe fatigue, as well as high heart rate, swollen lymph nodes, and feeling generally crappy enough to visit the doctor (and sleep all day), but I haven’t had any of the respiratory symptoms.


Flu with lack of respiratory symptoms? No cough, runny nose, stuffy head? Turns out it’s not that abnormal, though I didn’t find any solid statistics on this. In infants and young children, fever with lack of respiratory symptoms is worth suspecting influenza, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America [1].

Another search revealed that some atypical flu symptoms can be quite nasty. And unfortunately this winter has been a particularly bad flu season. With an estimated 36,000 deaths per year from influenza just in the U.S. [1], it’s no joking matter.

As for me… it occurred to me that I have been sneezing more than normal and my sinuses have been a bit stuffed up – I guess I just assumed it was from the dry winter air.

The doctor’s test confirmed I have influenza type A. Abnormal symptoms or not, it’s back to bed for me.

[1] Harper et al, “Seasonal Influenza in Adults and Children—Diagnosis, Treatment, Chemoprophylaxis, and Institutional Outbreak Management: Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Infectious Diseases Society of America,” Clin Infect Dis. (2009) 48 (8): 1003-1032. doi: 10.1086/598513 

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