IT STARTED with a headache, within a week I was banned from seeing my housemates. Swine flu is not to be underestimated says University of Chester Journalism Student NIKKI MITCHELL.
I DIDN’T realise I had swine flu for a week and a half because firstly I was ill for three days feeling groggy with the usual cold symptoms. I felt better by the Saturday and went out that night in Chester with friends.
When I woke up on the Sunday October 13 not feeling great I simply presumed it was a hangover!
On Monday October 14 I was exhausted all day and thought it was lack of sleep from going out at the weekend. But on Tuesday I woke up with a horrendous headache that lasted all day, but I thought it was just the same problem of tiredness.
My headache worsened on Friday, everytime I sat or stood up I was in agony.
I was frustrated to the point of tears with the pain in my forehead and pretty much spent the whole day in bed, as lying down and sleeping were the only things that made it bearable.
I had started to lose my appetite as it was a struggle to eat. I felt hungry sometimes but when it came to eating anything I couldn’t manage a lot. The flu gave me random cravings for junk food like chinese takeaway, pizza and cake, but I couldn’t manage it.
I became delusional from having a high temperature and my boyfriend said that every time time I was due to take pain-killers I was just roasting. The tablets kept my temperature down but I was frustrated and started crying because they didn’t take the migraines away. I tried all the pain killers I could think of but none of them seemed to work.
On Saturday night a red bobbly rash appeared on my arm. I thought nothing of it because I have eczema. The next day I started to feel sick as well as fainting – my boyfriend had to catch me.
He did an online swine flu assessment for me on the NHS website, the result of which told me that I was required to speak to a doctor.
Despite all the drama, I honestly didn’t think I had swine flu because I received the flu jab last year and hadn’t been sick or had diarrhoea.
On Monday morning I rang my doctor’s surgery and they asked me if I had flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, sore throat and headache, I said ‘yes’ and they told me to call the national pandemic hotline.
It was then that I was diagnosed with the condition and ordered to stay in bed and not go to lectures for another week.
One of my housemates got me the highest dose possible of tamiflu, which I had to take for five days.
After about an hour of taking the anti-viral tablets I felt nauseous, although I wasn’t physically sick.
I called the University of Chester to notify them that I had swine flu, they told me I must stay quarantined in my bedroom. I was banned from the kitchen and from going anywhere near my housemates so that the virus was not spread on campus. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me.
Within three days of taking the tamiflu tablets I started to feel better but by then had broke out in the rash fully. It was on my chest and face and was itchy, red, bumpy.
Swine flu is horrendous and although I didn’t have all the symptoms, those I did have, were bad enough.
The worst part for me was having a constant migrane and I think a lot of people like myself don’t realise they have influenza as some of the symptoms are similar to that of other viruses.
But it is treatable, and isn’t as bad as glandular fever which I had a couple of years ago for about a year as that has no real treatment.