The cold, harsh reality if you duck the flu jab ahead of Christmas

PUBLISHED: 17:03 01 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:10 01 January 2020

Rachel Moore says she wishes she'd listened to government advice and had a flu jab before Christmas

Rachel Moore says she wishes she'd listened to government advice and had a flu jab before Christmas

Rachel Moore has been struck down by flu this Christmas which could easily have been avoided if she had the flu jab. Next year she won’t forget...

Well, we were warned.

Flu would ruin Christmas for hundreds of thousands. Virus season kicked off early towards the end of last year with all manner of strains on the rampage, reaping havoc with immune systems weakened by all the pre-Christmas partying and planning.

Get your jabs now to swerve Christmas misery, we were advised by those in the know.

But forking out £9.99 and finding the time to be immunised against something unlikely to affect us, was never at the top of our long festive to-do list.

If it did hit us, we would just tough it out. We were too busy focusing on making Christmas perfect, which, of course it turned out not to be, because Santa brought flu with the presents.

Anyone else, who has suffered with or had flu in their home this Christmas, I sympathise. The medics on call who dealt with worried families, I sympathise even more.

When I read the warnings on December 16, I remember thinking: "We've never been ill at Christmas. How lucky we've all been." Apart from when Son Number 1 went down with chicken pox on Boxing Night 1999, closely followed by his six-month-old brother, which put paid to any Millennium celebrations.

Even when my best friend suggested I had a job (NHS background and knows what's what), I filed my "I'll think about it" under Perhaps Next Year.

Then, on Christmas Eve night, my partner became more unwell than I've known him, raging temperature, delirious, aching all over and with blinding headaches. He went down like Mike Tyson had saved his killer punch for him. He's still now up again.

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Eighteen hours later, after applying cool flannels to his forehead, keeping him hydrated and medicated, I followed suit. Thankfully all maternal Christmas Day duties had been completed and both sons were at safe distance in the Norwich City FC crowds at Aston Villa before the worst symptoms took hold.

Now I know I've never had flu before. I'd never known what it was like to be knocked sideways by the viral equivalent of a killer demolition ball. Everything hurt, my head was a painful foggy muddle, the slightest movement drained all of the thimble-full of daily energy I had and I was either burning up or freezing cold.

Two of us as ill as one other with an old and demanding Golden Retriever to look after.

And it has gone on for days. We have lost a week so far and counting.

All our plans for a winter 'staycation' of beach and rural walks, lunches with friends and visits were cancelled, presents for friends we were due to meet and host are still under the tree, the Christmas booze is untouched (for anyone that knows us, a miracle in itself) and the cheese, our favourite part of the festive food, unopened. Our very own cheese mountain.

The man has lost nearly a stone and is getting worse not better with a new symptom every day.

I'm typing this propped up in my bed, swathed in blankets and surrounded by enough empty drug packets and tissues to qualify for Tracey Emin's next project.

My head fug on Day Six of this beast's grip made me forget what day it was, otherwise, I would have taken sick leave from the column.

All I can say is I wish I had listened to medical advice and had the jab. Then, instead of tottering between sofa, bed and kettle like octogenarians, we would have seen in the New Year with fizz and sparkle with friends as planned.

NHS national medical director Prof Stephen Powis warned us all on December 16: "Our message is simple; the flu season is here. Get your jab now. It might be the difference between a Christmas to remember and one to forget."

We certainly won't forget this Christmas, but we will be at the front of the queue for a jab next year.

A happy, and healthy, 2020 to you all.

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