The flu has already been reported to be widespread in over 25 states this year, however, it has hit harder in some places. On Jan. 6 KGW reports that seven deaths and 180 hospitalizations have occurred since the week of Christmas alone in Portland. One death, that of a five-year old little boy is especially hitting home for some Portland residents as the most common flu going around is H1N1 which largely affects healthy children and young adults over the elderly and those already sick.
This year, the flu season has come earlier than anyone expected it to and it is hitting hard. Many aren't aware they are sick with swine flu until it has hit them full force and they begin having trouble breathing or can't seem to catch cough. As in the case of the five-year old boy who died from this potentially deadly flu strain, a regular flu shot just isn't enough to protect you, and the boy was diagnosed with something else, and sent home with antibiotics. He ended up dying of swelling in his brain from the illness. Even after a return trip to the doctor, they didn't change treatment because symptoms didn't change to lead anyone to believe it would be something otherwise.
This examiner was unfortunate enough to be one of the many in the Portland area that became ill with H1N1. From experience, if you start to feel short of breath, start wheezing, or have trouble catching cough, go see a doctor immediately. It is only a few short days before the symptoms start and the time it takes before you could end up in the ICU. This examiner almost did.