If You Think You May Have The Flu, Call Your Doctor! Here’s Why

For influenza antivirals dosing recommendations from the CDC, see Influenza Antiviral Medications: Summary for Clinicians.

Here are the symptoms of Influenza [Resource (1)]:

*Influenza signs and symptoms
typically include:

• Fever: 100.4°F or higher temperature or feeling feverish/chills AND one or more:
• Cough
• Sore throat
• Headaches and/or body aches
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Fatigue
• A runny or stuffy nose

If the patient does not report having a fever or feeling feverish, but had abrupt onset of other symptoms, consider influenza and proceed with protocol.

You can get an influenza infection even if you have recieved a flu shot. And it turns out that influenza medicines can decrease the risk of serious complications of an influenza infections especially for patients at high risk.

And if you get the flu and are at high risk complications from flu infection you need to get started on oral influenza treatment as soon as possible, preferably within the first 48 hours.

Persons who are at high risk of complications from an influenza infection [from Resource (1)] include:

**High Risk Patients Include:

  • Children younger than 2 years (although all children younger than 5 years are considered at higher risk for complications from influenza, the highest risk is for those younger than 2 years);
  • Adults aged 65 years and older;
  • Persons with chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension alone), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), and metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus), or neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation], moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury);
  • Persons with immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV infection;
  • Women who are pregnant or postpartum (within 2 weeks after delivery);
  • Persons aged younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy;
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives;
  • Persons who are extremely obese (i.e., body-mass index is equal to or greater than 40); and
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.

Resources:

(1) Medical Office Telephone Evaluation of Patients with Possible Influenza from the Centers For Disease Control (HTML) (PDF)

(2) Seasonal Influenza A(H3N2) Activity and Antiviral Treatment of Patients with Influenza December 27, 2017, 1030 ET (10:30 AM ET) Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network

(3) Influenza Antiviral Medications: Summary for Clinicians from The Centers For Disease Control

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