Friday, February 14, 2014

The Flu that Stole Christmas

This past December marked the first Christmas that we celebrated at our house.  In previous years, our Christmas tradition was to trek to Wilmington, North Carolina to my mother's house. There, the fireplace was stocked with our childhood stockings and the tree was adorned with decade old ornaments, including the crafty ones I had made in Brownies in 1984.  It's our family Christmas, after all, and my sister and I, until a few years ago, still qualified as the "kids." Santa still brought us gifts, even as twenty something (and thirty something) adults.

Christmas circa 1988

Christmas circa 2006.  Opening our gifts from Santa.

But as our family has grown, traditions have shifted.  My sister and I are hardly the "kids" anymore, and my kids are now old enough to ask for gifts from Santa and wonder how it is he fits down our chimney.  So, this year, in part because we had a newborn and in part because we felt we were ready to start our own traditions, we had Christmas at our house.  My mom and stepfather made the trip here, and my sister and her new husband planned to join us as well.  It was the same participants, different venue.

Alas, a few days before my sister was set to arrive, she called to tell me she was sick.  My sister rarely ever gets sick (a few Thanksgivings ago she was the sole survivor from the stomach flu that ravaged the rest of the family).  The sickness involved fever, sore throat, body aches, cough, etc.

She had the flu.  

Given that we have a newborn in the house, I freaked out a little.  I first consulted Dr. Google, followed by my OB.  The consensus was that anyone with the flu should not come into our house.

This meant we would celebrate our first Christmas without my sister.  Ever.

Now granted, my sister just got married, and soon, she will start her own Christmas tradition too. There will be Christmases we won't spend together.  But I need baby steps.  It was enough that we were changing venue.  The absence of a key participant was a lot to take!

Damn you, flu.  You stole my sister.

The flu didn't ruin our Christmas, of course.  The boys loved celebrating at their own house, and were thrilled with Santa's booty.  But it wasn't the same.  (Good news is, she spent her Christmas with her in-laws, which means we get her back next year!  Venue to be determined).

This flu season has been a doozy, though.  According to the CDC, 41 states now have "widespread flu."  Young people and middle aged adults are at particular risk this year.  If you haven't gotten your flu shot, it's not too late to get vaccinated - the flu can continue as late as May.  For more information on the flu, check out the CDC website here and the OTC website here.  If you are unlucky enough to get the flu, below is a graphic with some tips for easing the symptoms.

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own  

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