cold medicineI hardly remember Christmas. I went through all of the proper motions — presents, visits, a little pie — but it was a struggle. I mean, I didn’t even have the strength to battle during the notoriously combative White Elephant gift exchange. I stayed sick with a virus for almost two weeks. Ninety percent of our office has been ill, some to the point of hospitalization. My child went to her RISD school nurse Tuesday, sick with some sort of stomach bug and miserable. When I signed her out at 1 p.m. mine was the last of some 25 or so signatures of parents picking up sick kids.

Everyone I know is dealing with some form of respiratory or stomach (or both) affliction either themselves, with children or another family member. Is it just my circle? No, this is a particularly bad time for all of Dallas, the CEO of DFW Hospital Council told the Dallas Business Journal Wednesday.

Hospital emergency departments across our region are seeing more patients with upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms, experts say.

The chief of infection prevention at Parkland told the Journal that the predominant influenza virus strain this year is H3N2, which causes more severe illness, more hospitalizations and more complications than last year’s H1N1 strain. Ugh.

Some of the things you should do now:

Get a flu shot. The peak of flu season is January and February, so there is still time to get or prevent the misery.

Stay away from others if you are sick.

Stay away from anyone who is sick.

Cover your mouth and wash your hands. 

Keep Lysol or some other type of sanitizer on hand (and phone and remote controls and grocery carts).

Walgreens (and CVS) offer vaccines, but check with them before showing up. Yesterday, the CVS on Lake Highlands Drive was out of flu vaccinations. If you can’t get into the drug store or your doctor, try Wal-Mart or Randall’s Pharmacy.  In a pinch, you can call 2-1-1 for non-emergency health-related help.

By the way, if you have been coughing uncontrollably, as I did for a few nights, you might try this strange remedy, endorsed by the People’s Pharmacy: slather Vicks VapoRub on your feet and put on socks and stop coughing. Sounds crazy, but if you have hacked for 48 hours straight, you’ll try anything.

And here’s an article from the same outlet about flu-vaccine failure, among other fun flu-related facts.