There’s enough strife and tension in our world today. My prayer is that I be a peacemaker. I don’t desire to be known for my political stand, but my identity as a follower of Jesus and my stand for His Kingdom! Keith Wheeler
On February 10, 2020 Keith Wheeler left Tulsa Oklahoma for Tuvalu, a nation of Pacific islands just south of the equator. Lying halfway between Hawaii and Australia it is one of the most remote and least visited places on earth. But that is exactly the kind of place Keith likes to visit.
For 37 years he has walked more than 26,000 miles, visited every continent and over 200 countries for one reason- to love people and share God’s love, carrying a 90 pound cross over his shoulder. Keith uses the cross to get people’s attention and show how much God loves them.
But when Keith returned to the US in March 2020, the world had changed. On March 12, the director of the World Health Organization declared the new COVID-19 infection a pandemic, and President Trump declared a national emergency for theUnited States. Travel, especially international travel, was curtailed drastically.
Keith would not leave the country again for almost a year, but he did not waste the time resting. He just changed the way he reached people. He continued walking in Oklahoma and nearby states and shared videos on his social media, writing
“Maybe some of those stories and the perspective gained can be an encouragement. I love the fact that even in these times of isolation we can stay connected through all our technology.”
In three previous posts I told you about my interview with Keith December of 2021 and a sermon he preached in Tulsa in February 2022. In this post I’m drawing from Keith’s social media posts and an interview with BURN podcaster Reese Black.
(I have edited some of Keith’s statements for clarity and conciseness. I have added scripture references when he did not.)
Back home in Tulsa, on March 28, 2020 Keith wrote,
“In the midst of all the fear, disruption, uncertainty, and confusion that’s going on in our world, we can be sure that our Father goes before us and walks together with us into the unknown.
Easter Sunday, April 10, 2020 churches were closed due to COVID. Keith was on the street to carry the cross- in his own home city Tulsa Oklahoma.
On that day he wrote on Facebook,
May the God of Hope deliver the gift of hope;
May the Prince of Peace guard hearts and minds with His perfect peace that passes all understanding;
May the Spirit of Comfort comfort & encourage hearts and
May the Savior of the World rescue and redeem lost and broken lives!
May 25, 2020
And then our country erupted into chaos, confusion, and confrontation.
To many people “the flu” is any respiratory illness characterized by some combination of fever, cough, congestion, headache, fatigue, and body aches. But it more correctly refers to influenza
updated October 29, 2022
This post was originally written and posted 2 years before we had even heard of SARS-CoV-2, aka COVID-19. Four years later, “flu” symptoms are just as likely to be due to COVID as influenza, maybe more so. Still, we need to be vigilant because neither has disappeared. This post focuses on influenza.
To many people “the flu” is any respiratory illness characterized by some combination of fever, cough, congestion, headache, fatigue, and body aches. That term has become so nonspecific even we doctors use it that way. But it more correctly refers to influenza, which is one of many viruses that cause illness. The illnesses caused by the other viruses are usually called “colds”, upper respiratory infections, aka URIs, bronchitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis and pneumonia.
I recommend this resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand
Prior to the availability of the rapid flu test, using a nasal swab we doctors diagnosed influenza by the characteristic symptoms, confirmatory findings on exam, and knowing there was an outbreak in the community. The test is not absolutely necessary but is helpful for confirmation in the event the illness doesn’t progress as expected or to differentiate it from other illnesses especially COVID.
Vaccination-key to prevention
The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) , the National Foundation for Infectious Disease and every other reputable medical organization recommends vaccination against influenza.
My family and I always get vaccinations which have successfully protected us without side effects or adverse reactions. There are risks, as is the case for any medical procedure, or other things we do in life. In this case we have decided the benefit outweighs the risk.
Other tips to stay well and protect others
Stay home if you are sick, and ask your family, co-workers and employees to do the same.
If you absolutely must go out among other people, put an effective mask over your nose and mouth.
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
Wash your hands frequently.
Clean frequently touched surfaces.
Antiviral (influenza) medications
The antiviral drug Tamiflu, generic oseltamivir, will “shorten the duration and severity of symptoms” by 1-2 days, if started early (within 24-48 hours). There is some evidence that it will also lessen the risk of serious complications , especially in higher risk people (see below ).
I warn people that even with Tamiflu they will still feel miserable for a few days. But if it gets you back to school or work a day earlier, it may be worth the cost.
Oseltamivir can also be prescribed for prevention, if you know you have had close contact with someone with confirmed influenza, such as a household member. It’s only effective though for that episode, a 10 day course taken as soon as possible after exposure.
Xofluza, generic baloxavir, is for treatment of uncomplicated influenza for children and adults 12 years and older, who have been sick for no more than 48 hours. Patients take 2 tablets as a single dose. It can also be used post exposure .
Relenza, generic zanamivir, is a dry powder that is inhaled twice daily for 5 days or daily for prevention
Don’t confuseTamiflu (generic oseltamivir) a prescription anti-viral drug with Theraflu, an over the counter drug that treats symptoms.Theraflu does not affect the course of the illness.
Here are more general guidelines on what to do if you get a respiratory illness from FamilyDoctor.org.
Influenza causes uncomfortable disabling symptoms but most people recover fairly quickly and fully. In some cases influenza can progress rapidly and overwhelm the respiratory and/or nervous systems, leading to death.
People also die from complications of influenza, and infants, young children and the elderly have greatest risk.The most common fatal complication is bacterial pneumonia, infection in the lung. Influenza can also attack the nervous system causing brain inflammation (encephalitis and/or meningitis) and paralysis in the form of Guillain Barre syndrome .
High risk persons-take influenza seriously
Persons with chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung disorders, chronic liver or kidney disease, depressed immune systems and cancer , as well as infants and persons of advanced age are at greater risk of complications and should always consult a physician if feeling ill. If you are not sure if you fall into that category, ask your doctor.
sharing the HEART of health in flu season
And please share this vital information-you may help safe someone’s life.
Use these links to share the heart of health wherever you connect.
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