Protecting Yourself Against This Year’s Flu Virus

Leah Leilani avatar

by Leah Leilani |


As you may know, the influenza virus has been very intense this season, resulting in many hospitalizations and more than a few deaths. One of the reasons is that this year’s strain of flu is referred to as H3N2. It is supposedly the worst of two types of influenza A and two influenza B viruses and is constantly changing and mutating, which makes the flu vaccine incapable of protecting our bodies against it.

The people most affected by this year’s flu have been young children, elderly people, and people living with chronic illness. Almost everyone I know has caught the flu this year and it was inevitable that I would get sick, too. It was only a matter of time.

Since I started being home-schooled about six years ago, I haven’t been sick as often or as severely. My dad, who was a teacher, would constantly come down with a cold or flu. But since his retirement, viruses have been few and far between in my household.

When someone in my family catches a bug we practically go under quarantine. Because of my disease, my immune system is very weak. When I get sick it’s 10 times worse than when a regular, healthy person gets a cold or flu. It lasts about twice or even three times as long, and I could end up in the hospital because of an asthma attack or dehydration. So Clorox wipes are close at hand to wipe down doorknobs, light switches, the TV remote, our desktop computer keyboard, and all the phones. Pretty much any surface that is touched often. Paper towels are kept in both bathrooms because regular cloth towels harbor tons of germs. We even put a bit of bleach in the water when we wash our dishes.

Having mitochondrial myopathy means that I visit the clinic a lot. Hospitals and clinics are literally the breeding ground for germs. If you want to get sick, the best way to do it is to stand in the middle of a doctor’s waiting room surrounded by a bunch of coughing, sneezing kids. My mom and I probably look like a pair of germaphobes when we use our knuckles to press elevator buttons and use our elbows to push open doors. The first thing we do when we get in the car is wipe our hands with sanitizing wipes as well as any surface that we’ve touched, including the joystick on my wheelchair, the steering wheel of the car, etc. I also keep some individually packaged wipes in my wheelchair bag for whenever I’m planning on eating out.

So, stay clear from anyone who’s coughing, wash your hands as often as possible, cross your fingers and, hopefully, you’ll get through this flu season unscathed.


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, Bionews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy. 


Aika avatar


Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. I usually wear a face mask whenever I go outside and always have alcohol, hand sanitizer and tissue inside my bag. And of course, water to stay hydrated.

Leah Leilani avatar

Leah Leilani

Hi there Aika. I’m so glad you found my article helpful. I just bought myself a reusable face mask and use it a lot when I’m at a doctors office around sick people. I hope you stay well and beat this flu season!


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