Friday, October 23, 2009

KTVZ Flu Tip - When To See A Doctor

Over at KTVZ they are running an article about flu symptoms and whether or not you should see your doctor.

"So far, the H1N1 flu is not more serious than regular flu, so if you are sick, stay home to avoid spreading it to others and take good care of yourself," says Mel Kohn, M.D., Oregon Public Health director. "If you have other conditions that put you at high risk or if symptoms get serious, that's when you should call your doctor." (See list of conditions below.*)

Some health conditions increase the risk of severe illness from influenza:
• Pregnancy;
• Long-term aspirin therapy in children and adolescents (aged 6 mos.--18 yrs.);
• Chronic lung disease (including asthma), heart, kidney, liver, blood, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes);
• Immuno-suppression (including that caused by medications or HIV);
• Any condition (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizures or neuromuscular disorders) that affects respiratory function or handling of respiratory secretions or that increases the risk for aspiration; and
• Residence in a nursing home or other chronic-care facility.Also, children aged 6-59 months (up to 5 years) and adults aged 65 years and older are considered at increased risk for severe illness from influenza.People who have severe illness or are at high risk for flu complications should contact a health care provider who will determine whether treatment is needed. If you are directed to see a health care provider, ask if the facility has any special procedures for flu sufferers who visit.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing;
• Bluish or gray skin color;
• Not drinking enough fluids;
• Severe or persistent vomiting;
• Not waking up or not interacting;
• So irritable that the child does not want to be held;
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough;
• Fever with a rash.

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath;
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen;
• Sudden dizziness;
• Confusion;
• Severe or persistent vomiting;
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and cough.

Go to the KTVZ page for the full article. Stay home - take care of yourself - try not to expose other people. Most people will recover within a week.