Shannon Christian

In this weekly blog, staff reporter Shannon Christian writes about the myths of healthcare and how it impacts students.

Dr. Germ: role reversal

As if the title of this column were not oxymoronic enough, it just so happened last week that I picked up a few germs myself, falling ill with the flu and strep throat. At first, the illness had not seemed very serious, I had self-tested for COVID-19 twice, with both results being negative, and continued on with my week believing that a simple cold was all that plagued me. 

As Wednesday came, my symptoms worsened, it being hard for me to even stand up without any difficulty. That is when I decided it was time to receive actual medical care, and not rely on my own minimal knowledge. It was finally my turn to be the patient after writing about being a care provider and even executing the role as a nurse aide. 

Having COVID-19 at the forefront of my mind is what caused me to wait so long to receive treatment. Any time that I have found myself feeling ill or even a bit different than normal, my mind jumps to the conclusion that I have COVID-19, causing me to immediately self-test. Once I see that I’m negative, my mind relaxes, and some of my symptoms even seem to disappear with those anxious thoughts I had. In July of this year though, after attending two concerts right after another, my self-test did come back positive, leaving me feeling the most ill I had in years. 

That is, until this week. The last time that I had the flu was in the fifth grade, and strep throat was even earlier than that. Again after attending another concert though, I found myself to be infected by both the streptococcus bacteria, and the influenza virus. This has truly been the most sick and drained I’ve felt, since having COVID-19, and even thinking back to the last time I had the flu. I had not realized that the pairing of being infected with both a bacteria and a virus at the same time could be so debilitating. Some days I was more aware, but with terrible pain in my throat and chest whereas other days I couldn’t stay awake, unsure what time of day it was or whether what I was experiencing was real or not. 

Falling ill myself has given me insight into what someone goes through in what seems like a simple infection. Influenza and strep throat are common enough, however, both are treated by different medications. Strep throat, caused by the streptococcus bacteria, can be treated and eradicated by antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin. Influenza virus is harder to eradicate since viruses cannot totally be eliminated by medications, however, antivirals such as Tamiflu are beneficial to recovery. 

While having the flu in fifth grade, I learned that certain medications can have adverse effects, such as Tamiflu giving me insomnia and hallucinations. Thus, I was only able to take Mucinex in hopes to alleviate my flu symptoms. Antibiotics have not troubled me thus far, so I was able to take Amoxicillin tablets, however, the combination of the medications and their dose definitely took a toll on my body. I had to eat more to sustain my energy and allow for the medicines to absorb in my bloodstream, and I found myself sleeping for almost the entirety of the four days I stayed at home. Being the patient this past week was almost as difficult as being on the other side of care, leaving me just as, if not more, exhausted. 

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