‘It just hit me so hard’: Spokane family shares warning as they recover from flu

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane mother diagnosed with the flu wants to spread the word about how serious the virus really is.

Erin Harner knew something was off earlier this month when she started feeling extremely tired, had the chills, and was nauseous. Before long, her symptoms intensified and she was bedbound. Around the same time, her husband and step daughter starting feeling sick.

A trip to an express care clinic confirmed that they had the flu.

“It just hit me so hard,” Harner said.

Harners family was out of school and work for the week. She said it was a miserable few days before the medication kicked in.

“We pretty much camped out in the living room watching Netflix,” Harner said.

Harner knew that staying home was the best option to heal and avoid spreading the virus.

“It was just so contagious. I couldn’t be near anybody,” Harner said.

That was especially tough because Harner had to miss being there for her mom who was starting chemotherapy.

“It was horrible because I’ve been with her every step of the way and I’ve been taking her to all these appointments, biopsies, and it was tough,” Harner said.

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended the flu vaccine as the best way to protect yourself from the virus. It also helps keep people, like Harner’s mom, safe if they can’t get the shot, according to Spokane County Epidemiologist Mark Springer.

“Through heard immunity, it protects other people in the community,” Springer said. “That’s a crucial piece because there are a lot of people who can’t do anything to reduce the risk.”

The CDC said children younger than six months old are too young to get the flu shot. People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the vaccine should also not get the shot, according to the CDC. Some medical journals also detail that people with very weak immune stems or those on active chemotherapy may not respond well to the vaccine.

Beyond getting the flu shot, experts have a few others tips to avoid spreading the virus:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wash your hands often
  • Clean your home
  • Limit contact with sick people
  • Stay home when you feel ill
  • Wipe down commonly used electronics, like your cell phone