"I've never been this sick."

By Leah Groth
December 17, 2019
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Lizzo is definitely not feeling “good as hell” this week (sorry, had to). The chart-topping singer was forced to cancel a performance at the KISS108 Jingle Ball in Boston on Sunday and another at Hot 93.7 Jingle Jam in Hartford on Tuesday, after coming down with a serious case of the flu.

“To my Boston fans, iHeart and KISS108, I am so sorry I have to cancel my performance tomorrow due to the flu,” she tweeted Sunday. “I hate letting my fans down more than anything. I hope that you all can forgive me while I recover and I promise we are doing everything we can to make it up to you.”

But it didn't stop there: The next day, she shared that her condition had not yet improved. “Y’all I’ve never been this sick please pray for me,” she tweeted.

Lizzo also had the receipts from the flu tests to prove her diagnosis. On Instagram Stories, she shared videos of herself undergoing a throat and nasal swab—likely for a rapid flu test. And you can tell by the videos that both swabs were pretty unpleasant. "Trying to get better for y’all," she captioned one of the videos, in which her nose was being prodded.

Lizzo - Instagram

Wait, what is a rapid flu test?

So, rapid flu tests—aka, a rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) are tests that can detect influenza viral antigens in respiratory tract specimens, according to the CDC. The tests can detect and differentiate between type influenza A and B viruses, however, do not specifically identify or differentiate subtypes of influenza A viruses.

While RIDTs can diagnose an individual with the flu in just 10 to 15 minutes,they can be a little uncomfortable. According to the US National Library of Medicine, one variation of the test involves swabbing the inside of a patient's nose and throat; another involves injecting a saline solution into the nose and then removing the sample with a suction. While you don't need to prepare for the test, people may gag or feel discomfort in their throat or nose, though those feelings are temporary. 

A positive result on a RIDT typically means the person has the flu, while a negative result means that another virus is likely causing symptoms. These flu tests not only help with diagnostic and treatment decisions for patients in clinical settings, but are also helpful in the way that they can identify the illness in hopes of containing it and further preventing outbreaks.

As for Lizzo's case, she was prescribed codeine, a prescription-only pain medication, to help combat her flu symptoms and was also a humidifier, which can also help relieve signs associated with the flu. And apparently, Lizzo's self-care did the trick: As of Tuesday afternoon, Lizzo's fever (a common symptom of the flu) had broken and she's officially on the road to recovery. 

Unfortunately, Lizzo's just one of millions of people who have already been hit with the flu this year. According to the CDC, this has been a particularly bad flu season -- and it has just started! As of December 7, 2.6-3.7 million flu illnesses have occurred in the United States, with 1.2-1.8 million medical visits, and up to 41,00 flu-related hospitalizations. Even more startling, is that up to 3,300 people have lost their lives due to influenza.

The best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to get your flu shot—and no, it isn’t too late. Getting the annual jab causes your body to produce flu-fighting antibodies that fight the flu. So, if you come into contact with one or more of the viruses that cause the flu, you’re less likely to develop flu symptoms. While it isn’t 100% effective, it can make a huge difference.

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