Not immune to the flu
It’s not unusual for writers to immerse themselves in a topic to fully understand the story they’re trying to tell.
Be careful what you wish for.
While working on this week’s cover story on how the influenza outbreak is affecting residents of Walworth County, staff writer Todd Mishler was stricken with flu-like symptoms for several days himself.
Mishler had plenty of company. He reports that from Oct. 1 through Jan. 4, the state reported more than 2,800 confirmed cases of influenza, with more than 760 of them requiring hospitalization. There were fewer than 400 hospitalizations last year altogether.
Mishler wasn’t the only staff member to come down sick this week, as illness hit our Delavan and Beloit offices. Photographer Terry Mayer was sick for several days. For those who follow Mayer’s Photo A Day series online, the gloomy photo above, taken from his bed, says it all.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.
It’s not rocket science, but if you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.
Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions), according to the CDC.
If you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best to contact your doctor. Remind them about your high-risk status for flu.
Senior editor Lynn Greene also was under the weather early in the week. On Wednesday, she brought homemade soup, which we used in this week’s cover photo.
Here’s her recipe, if you’re healthy enough to make it:
Chicken noodle soup
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
6 cups chicken broth
1 lb. raw chicken wings or pieces
1 stalk celery
1 Tbsp. dried crushed parsley
1/4 tsp. crushed hot pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup pickle juice (optional)
4 oz. raw egg noodles
Salt, if needed
In large soup pot, heat olive oil. Clean and cut up onion and add to olive oil. Saute, just till tender; add garlic and cook one minute more.
Add chicken broth and raw chicken to soup pot and bring to a boil. Peel and cut carrots into 1/2-inch pieces; add to soup pot. Cut up one stalk of celery, including the green leaves, into 1/2 inch pieces; add to soup pot. Reduce heat to a simmer.
When chicken pieces are cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon. Let chicken cool a bit, then debone. Discard bones and skin. Return meat to soup pot along with parsley, hot pepper flakes and pickle juice. Add raw egg noodles to soup pot.
Continue to let soup simmer until vegetables and noodles are cooked and soft. Adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Serve hot.
So like many of you, we’ve washed our hands, wiped down our keyboards and hoped the worst was behind us. And Mishler is hoping for a less-risky story assignment for next week.