Not me, but my 2-year-old toddler, Freda. It started on Saturday, when she was hard to wake up and fell asleep again on me shortly after breakfast. Mother’s instinct told me she was going down with something so I cancelled that day’s plans (which had included meeting friends for a picnic and a readthrough of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which I was meant to be playing Philostrate); that afternoon she started running a fever, her temperature spiking up to 39.4°C (102.9°F) that night. The fever was followed by bouts of vomiting and then diarrhea; last night the fever gave way to cold sweats.
The GP officially diagnosed it over the phone as H1N1 this afternoon and faxed a prescription for Tamiflu to the pharmacy where Freda’s dad went to pick it up. Thankfully it seems to be a fairly mild case, and she should be back to normal by the weekend.
We think she picked it up from her older sister Kathy, who had to take a couple of weeks off school with what the GP diagnosed as an upset stomach and viral laryngitis, but in hindsight matched the symptoms of flu; several girls at her school have also been off with flu-like symptoms. Kathy must have either passed it to Freda directly (children can continue to shed the virus for several days after the symptoms have gone), or else acted as an asymptomatic carrier – immune herself thanks to her exposure but still able to pass it on. The virus is tenacious and can survive up to 48 hours on surfaces such as tables, phones or door handles.
Her father and I are actually glad that she and Kathy have both gone down with it now whilst it’s a fairly mild if rather contagious strain of flu; Freda is otherwise robustly healthy, so at little risk, and catching it now means she and Kathy will have at least some protection when it comes back again in nastier form this winter, as the experts have been predicting.
Obviously this means that Freda and I are both in quarantine until we’re both no longer contagious – so no church, and no midweek group at the Bakers’ .