There is a rise in cases of the super flu silently sweeping through Uganda and the rest of the world since last year; and there is a lot of speculation on whether it is actually flu, a common cold or another strain of Covid (God forbid).
What are the symptoms of this “super flu” and how different are they from Covid?
Most of the people reported watery eyes, a very runny nose (the strongest common identifier), a terrible cough which develops in later stages, fatigue, body weakness, high fever, loss of appetite and in some cases, headaches. In isolated cases, patients lost some or complete sense of smell or taste, albeit briefly, about 4 hours before they got it back.
There are many issues with these symptoms, the largest being that they scream Covid, yet most of the patients had negative Covid tests. The other issue is, that these are classic symptoms of the flu and cold. They are rarely this severe and people tend to recover within the first 3 days without limited treatment.
Patients of this super flu, however, do need treatment and the first recovery can take about a week to realise and full recovery at least by the second week. This is only supported by the use of actual medication unlike the old adage of fluids, ginger, cinnamon and rest.
Some of the patients on the road to recovery and those that had recovered that we spoke to, shared with us their ordeals and how they managed to overcome the super flu.
Any of the information we share from their experiences shouldn’t be considered medical advice, we strongly encourage you to visit a licensed medical facility or healthcare professional should you feel sick or show any of these symptoms! Do not self-prescribe as you could be allergic or have adverse reactions to some medications.
A large number of patients told us that they didn’t know when the flu caught them, it crept up on them and manifested out of the blue at any given day or time, unlike other previous variations where symptoms linger on and gradually increase.
Shockingly though, there were some who stated that they did feel certain symptoms but were not sure as to why or what was happening. They would have the occasional sneeze, dry throat and at times body weakness but brushed it off until it manifested. For some, the fever can manifest first, others even thought that they had malaria.
I think you now understand why we are calling it the silent super flu. It is because of this that it is so contagious because it is spreading fast under the radar (we should call it the sleeper flu). However, it is not life-threatening, if treated that is. It is just incredibly uncomfortable and many claim, “they thought they were dying”, but never did, so there is hope.
Now, onto how they overcame this
From the different testimonies shared, some “superior” beings simply took Panadol (Paracetamol) for the headache, drank a lot of fluids, got enough rest and got better later. I assume the Panadol also kept the fever at bay which helped reduce the chances of a stronger breakout.
The other testimonies were a bit all over the place, from the magic of chicken soup to herbs that would make Chinese herbalists excited. We decided to weed through all the noise and give a summary, sort of;
Panadol was a commonality in most cases of recovery. It was prescribed to reduce fever and pain; however, it is Paracetamol, and it is very taxing and can affect your liver with prolonged usage. An incredibly small number used Ibuprofen, which does the same, but also reduces swelling which could be beneficial to reduce congestion. Ibuprofen isn’t very good for people with stomach ulcers though.
Antibiotics. This was like a Suuna Ben concert, some of the brands I had never heard of were featured. Some were prescribed Azithromycin by their doctors, since it was/is very effective against Covid infections, pneumonia and other upper respiratory infections, so one bullet to hit them all when the doctor wasn’t sure?
Others swore by Amoxyl (Amoxycillin) whereas some said that Amoxyl just massaged the flu, but wasn’t fast enough to be effective. The two most effective apparently were Day & Night Nurse (GSK) and Cipro (Ciprofloxacin). The latter being the fastest and most effective, despite being incredibly strong and not very good for those with ulcers or on an empty stomach.
In fact, shockingly, Cipro seemed to have reduced overall symptoms within 24 hours of the first 2 doses. This wasn’t really surprising as it is strong, but could also be because it is one of the least commonly prescribed antibiotics since Covid struck, and as such, maybe our bodies hadn’t developed resilience or resistance to it yet.
Unlike during Covid, we didn’t get much data on people who only used alternative therapies, most combined these things such as lemon, lime, juice, water, herbal tea, ginger, cinnamon, kisubi, and chicken soup (rich in proteins that support your body’s cells in fighting infection), gargling with warm water and salt (for the sore throat), etc with medication.
Plenty of rest, keeping warm and taking a few walks were all we heard so far and these are common recommendations from physicians/doctors to their patients with flu and the cold.
How about the rest of the world?
So, is this only Uganda’s plagues or it has been happening elsewhere even before we noticed it here this year Turns out, there have been reports in Australia and the UK about similar symptoms and the spread of a super flu by doctors, senior health professionals and academics such as this report and this extensive detailed piece by The Telegraph in November, 2021 in the UK.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners chair and head of general practice at The University of Notre Dame, Dr Charlotte Hespe told 7News Australia that she thinks this super flu could’ve entered Australia as far back as December 2021.
Where did it come from and how is it spreading?
No one knows for sure, yet. Maybe it was spread by the children who returned home from school with it and spread to adults since they interact with a lot of uncontrollable external variables.
Maybe it was brought by returning travellers or new visitors from abroad, or as some of the brilliant minds quoted above, it could be the different virus strains we’ve had all along coming out to play now that we’ve vulnerable immune systems from all the medications and isolation as we combated Covid.
Some have speculated that it might be Covid becoming endemic, as it is about the time, whereas others explained why it is more likely to be a super cold/flu. This is usually close to the right time for flu season.
Dr. Ian Mackay, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, Australia suspects that our bodies may have forgotten how to recognise and fight normal colds or flu because of what they’ve been through fighting the Covid Pandemic or being in isolation.
An excerpt of her quote in Medical News Today;
“Some of what we may feel are ‘super colds’ might just be normal colds that we’ve simply forgotten to recognize because Australia had successfully kept them at bay during the pandemic.”
Our bodies have been relying on a lot of medication, vaccines and the safety of our homes during lockdowns + isolations, our immunity may now be at an all-time low or our immune system is just fatigued. Is it a good time to note, that there’s also a surge in malaria cases in Uganda this year too? Another time maybe.
The UK Health Security Agency figures showed that 111 calls about colds and flu, a cough, or difficulty breathing were rising and that the call volume was above expected levels, particularly an increase from patients aged 15 to 44.
So, keep a lookout for the super flu, you may not be able to do much to avoid it, but practice the usual washing hands, sneezing etiquette and seeing a medical professional the moment you recognise you have any of the symptoms above.
It is also worth noting, that you should avoid being around the elderly above 65 years old or very young children as the symptoms might put a heavy toll on their bodies or organs and turn out to even be life-threatening.
Are you suffering from or have you recently recovered from this super flu? Share with us your experience in the comments below or on our Twitter.
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Lawrence writes about tech, lifestyle, politics, business, crypto and occasionally entertainment. He writes for Newslibre and Spur Magazine while consulting with numerous international companies on strategy, community management and marketing.
He has contributed to the journalism, open source, film, youth, web, Andela and Mozilla communities.