Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Patient Presents With...

scratchy eyes, scratchy throat, minor headache, rhinorrhea, watery eyes.

Thinking after all the cases of flu I saw whilst shadowing on Friday, I will be best served by staying home, in bed, drinking lots of fluid (diet coke!!) and taking Vit C with Cold-eeze. It would also seem prudent as passing it around the university might be a bad thing.

The whole "HAVE SWINE FLU" to me seems like an announcement or badge of courage in some weird sort of way. All the patients except one on Friday, probably just had garden variety flu but because of media hype over this man-made pathogen, they almost needed a badge of honor in saying they'd conquer it.

To be sure, swine flu can be fatal in certain populations but so can many other diseases. If your family member or friend has the flu, here are extremely adverse symptoms to watch for (courtesy of: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=99712&page=2):

Get medical care right away if the sick person at home:

  • has difficulty breathing or chest pain

  • has purple or blue discoloration of the lips

  • is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down

  • has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry

  • has seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)

  • is less responsive than normal or becomes confused
How to treat this little home invader?

Antiviral medications are available for persons 1 year of age and older. Ask your healthcare provider whether you need antiviral medication.

Influenza infections can lead to or occur with bacterial infections. Therefore, some people will also need to take antibiotics. More severe or prolonged illness or illness that seems to get better, but then gets worse again may be an indication that a person has a bacterial infection. Check with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.

Warning! Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or teenagers who have the flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye's syndrome.

  • Check ingredient labels on over-the-counter cold and flu medications to see if they contain aspirin.

  • Teenagers with the flu can take medicines without aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin®), to relieve symptoms.

  • Children younger than 2 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a healthcare provider.

  • The safest care for flu symptoms in children younger than 2 years of age is using a cool-mist humidifier and a suction bulb to help clear away mucus.
  • Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to the package instructions may help lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. Importantly, these medications will not lessen how infectious a person is.

  • Check the ingredients on the package label to see if the medication already contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen before taking additional doses of these medications—don't double dose! Patients with kidney disease or stomach problems should check with their health care provider before taking any NSAIDS.

Check with your health care provider or pharmacist if you are taking other over-the-counter or prescription medications not related to the flu.

As for me, I'm staying home getting my rest, buying my diet coke, and working on chem research. I'm praying this will pass rapidly and I can maybe wear my own badge of courage (or not)... in fact, I won't even bother the docs with a visit. Best to stay completely out of the public.


Ella said...

I can't find the Sweet Charity shoes.. only the purse. You should send me a link...

DocToBe said...

My chem professor took a minute at the beginning of class last week to discuss the swine flu, and what all of the hysteria is about.

He said that in the early 1900's, the first wave of the swine flu (when graphed as deaths by age) had a high mortality rate for only the very young and the very old. Fine... that's usually true in general.

However, the subsequent second and third waves of the swine flu was quite different. It resembled a bell curve that was maximized in the middle of the age spectrum while deaths in the young and elderly were minimized.

This is what all the worry is about, and it appears to be left out in the media coverage (and therefore, the overall American perception). It isn't the current wave of infection that is worrisome, it is the subsequent waves. We have significant reasons to be wary of each of the very simple precautions you have listed on your blog.

I should go back to mine and post this as well.