My Week with H1N1

I suppose it would have been wise to have taken the H1N1 vaccine. But from many accounts, the pig flu was supposed to have only a mild effect on adults. I had observed this to be the case when my wife and various friends had it earlier this year. A few sniffles, a sore throat, and all was well again. So I did not give serious thought to being inoculated.

Well, Nature had decided to disprove my assumptions in a big way. I just spent the past week in bed battling a high fever, diarrhoea, sore throat and various other symptoms. According to the doctor, my symptoms were in line with H1N1. But there was a catch: I had also caught a second, bacterial infection, and that made a huge difference. The interaction of the two wreaked havoc on my body. The fever was difficult to control even with strong medicine, often leading to shivers. For five days I was on a liquid diet. I felt a profound tiredness that I had never felt the previous times I had battled influenza.

Inadvertently this led to some time well-spent in introspection and meditation. In fact this was perhaps the first week in a long time that I have been quite completely offline. I hope you will share the lesson I’ve learnt: the germs are pretty innovative and combinatorial attacks can be very nasty. If you haven’t gotten inoculated for H1N1, now’s the time.

ps: This is an Economics blog and makes no pretense of offering medical advice

UPDATE: I’ve been asked if this is a low-probability random event that I’ve experienced. No. The multiple infections are not independent: a first infection weakens the body sufficiently and makes it easy for a second infection to set in. Search around the web and you will find quite a number of reports in which H1N1 appears with pneumonia and other infections.