H1N1 Swine Flu - A Personal Account of Symptoms & Recovery Time

H1N1 Swine Flu Symptoms - A Personal Viewpoint

Last year talk about the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic was everywhere, then it all died down and it seemed that this Flu Virus had fallen off the radar. Unfortunately, it seems that H1N1 is back and possibly stronger than in previous years. We've all seen a list of possible symptoms of the H1N1 virus, but what is it actually like to have swine flu, what is the incubation period, how long does it take to recover and what is the H1N1 symptom progression? I'm sharing mine and my families' experience of swine flu symptoms and recovery to try to answer these questions for you.

I've been updating this article from the first day I came down with swine flu to try and impart a more personalised view of the experience. (You'll find the updates at the bottom of the article.)The media has provided the hard facts but seems to have ignored the human side of the pandemic, so my aim is to address this imbalance and to give you, the reader, another perspective.

H1N1 Swine Flu - Symptoms Day 1

I'm sitting here with my limbs aching, a very sore throat, a swollen epiglottis, a temperature of 102, chills, extreme sweating, head ache, snotty nose and pain in my joints. I'm feeling weak, drowsy and tired and it hurts to move. I'm not sure I agree with the media's and governments description of this virus as a mild illness with mild symptoms - I haven't felt this ill since the last time I had flu in 1995.

I've been asleep on and off all day. Some other symptoms I've noticed are frequent urination (God, it's hard to get up them stairs!), numbness in my fingertips, an inability to lay still, waking frequently in the night and pain in my sinuses.

To be honest it's hard to concentrate and I doubt this piece of writing will be my finest work, but I wanted to share with others what it's actually like to have swine flu and how to diagnose yourself or your children.

Swine Flu Incubation Period

It's kind of a weird virus. My youngest daughter has had it first and I've been home from work this week looking after her. About 6 days before she got the virus proper she had a slight temperature for a couple of days.

Looking back I had the same symptom around 6/7 days ago. This must be the actual start of it and it takes that long to get really into your system. Or in other words the incubation period of the virus. No wonder it's spreading so quickly - for the first week you don't even know you've got it.

Once the H1N1 virus has incubated for it's 6 or 7 days it comes on suddenly. I went to bed last night with a slightly sore throat. I woke in the night with all the symptoms I described above. Thank God my husband is off work for two days to look after our little one! Hooray for train strikes!

Update: My husband came down with it 10 days after I did.

Anti Virals - Tamilflu and Relenza

To take them or not to take them - that is the question on my mind right now. For my little one I chose not to get them even though I did the NHS online questionnaire and got a code number to pick up some Tamilflu for her. After reading about the potential side effects of vomiting and diarrhea I decided she just wasn't ill enough to warrant that risk. I think it was the right decision. She's on day 7 now since the worst of the symptoms came on and she's pretty much better.

But for me, I'm still not sure what to do. I know I'm not as healthy as my four year old and I have a tendency to get chest infections after a cold or flu virus. I've heard that's when it can get dangerous - when it gets into your lungs. The problem is there really isn't anyone to talk to about it (as of August 2009). The advice is not to go to your GP. NHS direct just send you through to the Swine Flu Pandemic Hotline and they're taught (as far as I know) to just hand out Tamiflu. They aren't trained medical people - it's just a call centre.

So it still leaves me with a decision I haven't got the energy to make!

Reported Symptoms of H1N1

  • High Temperature
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Lethargy
  • Aching Muscles & Joints
  • Sweating
  • Sore Throat
  • Vomiting & Diarrhea
  • Runny Nose & Catarrh
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Lack of Appetite


Updates on H1N1 Symptom Progression and Recovery

Before I go lay down and watch rubbish on the TV remember this is only day one for me. I'll come back and update you with any further symptoms I discover and what I decided to do about the anti virals.

Flu Symptoms Day 1 - 31/7/09

I did decide to take anti virals. My husband dutifully called the national pandemic flu number and then arranged to get them form a local hospital. He is known as my "Flu Friend," a term made up by the British government to stop flu infected people going out. So far I haven't felt sick or had any other side effects - hooray!

This is very, very hard to write. Right now, I am sweating profusely and experiencing what I think is the worst symptom of this Flu - continually aching muscles and joints. My hip joints have been constantly aching for hours and it's so hard to get comfy. The paracetamol barely touches it.

Flu Symptoms Day 2 - 1/8/09 a.m.

I'm surprised to say that I think the Tamiflu is definitely helping. I haven't felt quite as bad today - no chills and far less aching, though it's certainly not over yet. I've been in bed all day, so still not able to be up and about doing things. The swollen throat is still there big time even through the painkillers I can still feel it.

Woke up this morning after only 3 hours sleep finding it a bit of a struggle to breathe through my massively swollen throat - a bit scary!

1/8/09 p.m.

It's late evening and while my throat is still pretty swollen and sore it's nowhere near as bad as this morning. Most of the symptoms have died down - looks like I've had the worst of it :) Fingers crossed that there won't be any secondary infection!

Flu Symptoms Days 3,4 & 5

The main symptom over the last few days has been an excrutiatingly painful sore throat. It feels like I have big lumps of glass in my throat and it hurts to swallow anything. It seemed to get better for a little while and then it came back with a vengeance! It hurt so much that I admit to having a little cry and feeling very sorry for myself!

I have been getting 2 or 3 hours sleep at a time, so my routine is all over the place. I'm up at silly times in the night and sleeping at odd hours of the day. The reason for this is that I'm waking up from the pain in my throat and it's impossible to get back to sleep - I need hot drinks! This is a bit manky but I'm waking up with green/yellow snot encrusted all over my tonsils, tongue and epiglotis (the dangly bit at the back) - it's nasty!

The aches and chills have gone. Still snotty and headachey.

My little one went back to nursery on Tuesday (my day 5, her day 11). She has a peak in temperature on day 9/10 and took her to the doctors but they said that was quite normal as your body fights the last of the virus. She's still got a bit of a runny nose, but all the main symptoms have subsided.

Flu Symptoms Days 6 & 7

Had my first good nights sleep last night in a week - hooray! My throat is still sore but no where near as bad as it was. All the snot seems to be coming out now, so I'm blowing my nose a lot. I'm going to stay off work the rest of this week and hopefully by Monday I'll be fighting fit and ready to go back. At the moment there's no sign of a secondary infection which I am very happy about - normally with flu or a bad cold I get a chest infection afterwards but my chest feels clear. I wonder if that's down to the Tamiflu? That's one of the things they say about it, is that it reduces your chances of getting a secondary infection.

Flu Symptoms Days 8,9 & 10

Still not feeling brilliant, but I have slightly more energy that I have had. Still snotty - which is bright yellow, mmmmm nice lol :) Still have a bit of sore throat and I'm getting a bit of a chesty cough now. Not sure if I'm going to be up to a full days work on Monday - I may need a few more days to recover. My little one is still very snotty as well and still not quite her normal self.

Husband has come down with Swine Flu

After having swine flu in the house for over 2 weeks we thought my husband had escaped it somehow. Unfortunately he's not that lucky. He was not feeling well yesterday evening and today he's woken up with all the classic symptoms - sweating profusely, aching joints and muscles, sore throat, frequent urination, aching teeth & ears, temperature.

I've just completed the swine flu questionnaire and been given a number so I can collect Tamiflu for him. Only problem is the collection point is 10 miles away and I don't drive!


My husband started taking the tamiflu straight away and he recovered a lot more rapidly than either myself or our daughter. He was off work for a week, though was feeling markedly better by day 4/5. It just shows you how each person's experience of H1N1 swine flu will be slightly different, as will their symptoms and recovery time.

More by this Author


ncuxapa_ profile image

ncuxapa_ 5 years ago

Swine flu is like the ordinary virus, isn't it?

Susana S profile image

Susana S 6 years ago Author

I think you're the moron Beavis - when this was written there was no Swine Flu vaccine!

Beavis 6 years ago

You guys are all morons. If you had bothered to get the vaccine, you wouldn't have had any problems..... like me!

pksmdrag 6 years ago

Hi Diana - sorry it has taken me so long to get back on here. Would you be interested in doing regular e-mail?


Diana 6 years ago

Hi Kim, I'm so glad to hear your daughter is now riding her bike that's some progress.When I stand up my blood pressure goes up but when you have adrenal fatique when you stand up your blood pressure usually goes down weird! I'm back on 20mg of a steroid called cortef it's not as strong as prednisone I told them I didn't want prednisone again. They say that this medication works really well for adrenal fatique so I hope it's comes back to normal soon!!! I can't believe you are still on prednisone for 2-1/2 yrs. You must be used to it now though eh? I can see why your daughter is tired as well cause didn't you say her iron level is low as well. That's another thing that has been going up & down on me as well. Man I wish the government would read these hubs and study the after effects of H1N1 maybe they could come up with something better for your body to fight it off. If your daughter gets extremely tired and then wired and can't sleep regular hours. Get her cortisol levels checked cause with this you get tired about 9 o'clock but then your body fights it and then you can't sleep till about 1 or 2 am. You never feel like you get a full nights rest you wake up tired and want to go back to bed again. If she gets like this get her cortisol and acth levels checked she may be going through adrenal fatique from being sick so long. The doctors told me this isn't a normal blood test that they would usually test for unless someone asks out of the blue. I was just lucky that my pharmacist told me to get it done Thank god!!!! It only a simple blood test why not get her checked just in case. It may be shocking if she does have it and here she could have had the medication months ago for it. If she does the medication will give her more energy over time. Kim I would consider asking your doctor to test her for it. It happens to people that have been under a great deal of stress for a long period of time due to illness or people who have been on steroids for a long time and come off too fast. Keep in touch and let me know if you get her tested it would be interesting to know. Have a great summer and keep in touch!!! Always Diana

pksmdrag 6 years ago

Hi Diana - good to see you again. It sounds like you are all dealing with some of the same stuff. I would agree that the hormones are messed up in my daughter too. We haven't tested for any of that yet. So, are you back on prednisone again or some form of that? How much are you taking? I have been weaning off of prednisone for 2.5 years now. I started off at 20 mg per day and am down to 2.5 mg. I take it because of my rheumatoid arthritis. I still hope to get off of it someday, but can live this way if I can't. My daughter has found that she can do some bike riding and is very happy about that. Her legs don't discolor then. She still finds it much more difficult to stand or walk. Still tires easily but is doing better. So, we are still working at her recovery!! She fell asleep on the couch the other day she was so tired! Does your heart rate go up when you stand or just changes in your blood pressure? Gotta run. Have a fun summer day.


Diana 6 years ago

Hi Kim, Sorry it took me so long to get back on here but I was going through a series of tests. I seen you and Kc talking about how out of energy your kids are and about table tests which I have never heard of. But are the kids getting dizzyness? Cause I just went and got my cortisol levels checked because of all the steroids I was on and all the medications I was on during the H1N1 and my adrenal glands were almost completely shut down and thats why I have been going through such fatique and then little spurts of energy but I was getting really dizzy in the head and my blood pressure would rise during those times but mostly my blood pressure kept dropping very very low. Most people are supposed to be between 85-650 and mine read 11. So my adrenal glands had almost shut down and this is something doctors don't usually test for. But my pharmacist said I should go to a endocrinoligist and get tested so I went to my doctor right away he tested me and I had to go to the hospital in Edmonton for more testing. Funny and kinda weird is that they put you on steroids to fix this problem that the steroids caused in the first place. But also long term stress is a big factor they said and when you're sick for so long you of course get stressed and this wears down the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland cause they function together. So now I'm back on steroids again and as it improves they will wean me off slowly so hopefully this doesn't ever come back. But they see this more often with people with asthma because of the inhaled steroids and the oral steroids that we have to take. So after all of that yes I still am very fatiqued at times and have now changed my diet to lots of fruits and vegetables and lots of protein and vitamin C that seems to curve and salt and sugar cravings. That's another thing with this you crave salts or sugars. And you have to try and eat 3 full meals a day and 3 nutrious snacks. A lot of food! No stimulants!! coffee is out of the picture for awhile! Dam!!! Thay also gave me rescue needles just in case I get sick at home I can inject myself and get to a hospital if extreme stress happens. Like you break a leg or do something really stupid to yourself knock on wood that will never happen!!! So that's it in a nutshell I guess it's called Addison's disease or Adrenal insuffiency. I can't believe we are still going through this in June almost July it has too go away soon!!!! I will keep all of you in my prayers . Take care and keep in touch! Always Diana

pksmdrag 6 years ago

Hi KC and Diana - Hope this finds everyone doing better with their or their son's health issues. We did the tilt table test on Friday and it was positive. So my daughter has Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Obviously we don't want that but if you know you are sick its nice to have a name to it. Don't know yet how we will try to treat that. She still has to have a sleep study done, but that isn't scheduled yet. Tomorrow is my son's last day of school for the summer. He's happy. I told him he could come home ans spend my birthday with me - he laughed!!! Well friends, write when you can. KC, I e-mailed you but not sure if you got that on Friday. Hope everyone is enjoying some nice summer weather.


KC 6 years ago

Hi Kim - We start school in early Aug. It will be here before we know it and hopefully my son is ready. He had a tilt table test about a month a half ago to check his blood pressure for the dizziness. It all came back normal. I am glad your daughter feels better than she has. It is still frustrating though when they are not 100% and you keep spending time and money on doctors. Have a good one!


pksmdrag 6 years ago

Good morning KC - It sure would be nice if your son feels back to normal when school starts in the fall. At least he would get off on the right foot! We start back to school on Aug. 25th. When do you guys start back to school? We aren't even out of school yet. School gets out here on the 21st. On one hand I hope the Tilt Table Test tells us something, but on the other hand, I hope she is fine!!! I really don't want her on any more medicines. The only thing she takes now is Lyrica for the fibromyalgia. It helps a lot. She still has pain, but its manageable. A sleep study should be scheduled today for sometime in the near future. I don't know if it will say anything other than she can't get to sleep!!! ITs so hard to figure out what is normal teenage sleep issues and what is related to the fibro and CFS, etc. I don't t hink my daughter is as bad as she was, but she still doesn't have a life. Her t.t.t. is on Friday, so I will let you know how that goes. Glad you got to the nice Florida beaches before the oil hit! What a mess! Have a great day.


KC 6 years ago

Hi Kim - We went to Destin in the panhandle. It was extremely hot and humid - more than any other time I have been to FL. It was just so nice and relaxing and very laid back. My son has started his online math course and is doing ok. He said the concentration issue is still there a little bit, but it's a whole lot better than it has been. It would be nice if he is back to 100% by the time school starts - that's my prayer. When does school start for your daughter? I know all about the stresses of dealing with the school, so hopefully it will go well and they will continue to work you. Let me know how the POTS testing comes out. Is your daughter on any medications for the CFS and fibromyalgia?

pksmdrag 6 years ago

Hi KC - we just got back from another school meeting. It went fine today. She just finished up on her English. She will continue to work on geometry over the summer and will start physical education and health. Health is online and she will do the gym on her own. I don't think they want to pay for a tutor for that. We will meet again the day before school starts - so that will be a problem. Nothing will be in place for her to start when school starts, so....stress for mom!!! Well, I hope the exercise halps your son. Whereabouts in Florida did you guys go? One of my brothers and his wife lives in Tampa. We are trying to figure out if we can get down there to see them. Have to see how this summer tutoring plays out. No, I am not big on being in Florida in the summer!!! Well, keep me posted on your son's progress. I wish him well.


KC 6 years ago

Hi Kim - We have not tested for CFS. He recovers pretty quickly from activity - within that day which makes me think that CFS is not it. The ID doc says it's just going to take time from the mycoplasma infection. He will shoot some basketballs in the driveway and is supposed to start walking, riding a bike, etc for about 15 min. and see if that doesn't help his energy levels some more. We went to Florida a couple of weeks ago for a very laid back beach vacation (we needed a break) and he would go to the beach or pool a couple of hours and then watch TV or play a game until dinner. He was then fine to go out to eat and then a walk on the beach. He wants to be a mechanical engineer with hopes of going to Purdue. My brother happens to be one.


pksmdrag 6 years ago

Hi KC - thanks for clarifying your son's grade for me. My husband is an engineer and my father (he's deceased) was an engineer. Stephen, my son who will be a senior in the fall, was going to be an engineer but had decided to go with his first love which is weather. At this point he would like to go to the University of Oklahoma or Texas A&M. I don't know what my daughter would have pursued except that I would have told you that she could have done anything. Now this illness has derailed everything. I know she can do something with her life, just not sure yet. We are still very optimistic for the best outcome possible. She still has her dreams which is good. Hey, I can't remember for sure but I thought you might have mentioned Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. Have you had your son evaluated for that? It sure sounds like he could have that. Megan has CFIDS and fibro. She will be tested at the end of next week for POTS. And we are doing a sleep study on her (not scheduled yet) to see if there is anything we can do about her sleep. She appears to sleep ok once she gets to sleep. Just she comes to life in the evenings. What is your son's activity level now? Megan is still mostly housebound. She walks around inside ok. But if she does an activity outside like go shopping in the mall or bowling she pays a price. The three hours of shopping knocked her out for a week. So, we seem to have a long way to go. What type of engineering does your son want to go into? Is there anyone else in your family that does engineering for work? Good luck. Its another cloudy day in Connecticut and cool. Not our typical June. Have a great day.


KC 6 years ago

Hi Kim - My son was a sophomore this past year. The classes are full year courses, but you get one credit for each semester completed. He hopes to go to college for engineering. What about your daughter? If my son could just get past how tired he gets after some activity that would be great. He has got to be ready for school in Aug.


pksmdrag 6 years ago

Hey Diana - hope you got some relief from the chiropractor! Are you exhausted at all or is your energy level ok? Do you sleep ok? How nice to have a beautiful lake within a few minutes of where you live!!! Its cool and rainy here today (and tomorrow). But that's ok, it will be very hot again real soon!


Diana 6 years ago

Hi Kim, It hasn't been as hot here yet this week but last week was beautiful and people keep asking me if I went somewhere for my tan. No just here in our small town of Bonnyville. I just wish it would get hot soon again I love the sun. Cross my fingers for the weekend weather to be nice. I'm glad Megan isn't in as much pain anymore next I hope she gets her energy back so she can be a kid again. Summerlin gets out of school on June 28th but for the next couple of weeks they are just doing all field trips and outdoor activities. School fun for the kids!! It will be nice when me & her get to spent a lot of time together hopefully we can do some visiting and going to the lake this year. We live 5 minutes from the lake so it's great. The doctors are sending me for a colonoscopy and a gastrophyscope. So hopefully after all these tests are done they can fix whatever needed fixing. And then I can get on with my life!!!! Crossing my fingers!!! Talk to ya soon off to the chiropractor. Always Diana

pksmdrag 6 years ago

KC - I guess your son must have been a junior this year. I just realized he was taking the same classes as my son who was a junior this year! What does your son plan to pursue after high school?


pksmdrag 6 years ago

Diana, I'm back! Its good that you are going to have your heart checked out. My sister-in-law's brother got sick years ago (He's in his early 50's) and then they figured out later that the virus had damaged his heart. He has been on coumadin (blood thinner) for a number of years now. I am so happy that your daughter is doing well. The bright side of not having a job now is that you can spend some more time with her. Medical science has come a very long way and for all that they know I am so grateful. However, they still don't know a lot. There is so much to be learned about viruses and what they can do to all the different bodily systems. I hope you are enjoying nice weather these days. It was sunny and low 70's today. This whole week looks good and then it gets hot and humid for the weekend. I did get a small garden planted and some container pots. My RA has been a bit worse. Today I am hurting a lot more and feel so exhausted. Can't wait to crash tonight and hope that tomorrow is better. As a mother I breathe a lot easier when I don't see PAIN written all over my daughter's face. She lacks any real energy but at least she isn't suffering with so much pain anymore. Write when you can (soon). When will your daughter be out of school for the year? Vacation plans??? Get well soon.


pksmdrag 6 years ago

Hi Diana - sorry I just missed you. There is medicine out there for muscle spasms. I know how painful they can be. My mother has suffered terribly at times from muscle spasms in her leg after her stroke. She used to be on (maybe Rozerem - can't remember). Anyway, that stroke occurred 5.5 years ago and she still has spasms but not as bad. The medicine stopped working so they took her off of it. But it did help for many years. I am sorry that you lost your job. Most importantly, I hope you cna take this time to get better!! How is your fatigue level? Your blood pressure? Your heart rate? When do you go for the stress test? Good luck. I have to go do something, so I'll try to hop back on and write more later.


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