2009-2010 FLU INFORMATION:
Who should receive the H1N1 influenza vaccine:
- Pregnant women are at higher risk of complications of the flu. Also, being vaccinated can potentially offer protection to their infants who cannot be vaccinated.
- All people ages 6 months through 24 years of age. This is because children are in close contact with each other in school, day care settings, and sports. Young healthy adults often study, work and live in close proximity to each other.
- All healthcare and emergency medical personnel. If we are not vaccinated, we could potentially spread infection to our vulnerable patients.
- Anyone aged 25 through 64 with health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.
Who should be tested for H1N1 influenza?
Most people with flu-like symptoms will not be candidates for specific testing for H1N1. The symptoms of the flu, whether it is the seasonal flu, or the novel H1N1 flu are identical, and include fever, chills, severe body aches, headache, fatigue, sore throat and cough. The CDC has advised physicians that it is not necessary to test for H1N1, since testing doesn’t add any information to help us treat our patients. Furthermore, testing involves taking a sample of mucous from very high up in the nose and pharynx, and is an uncomfortable procedure. It is also expensive and generally not covered by insurance.
Who should receive treatment with tamiflu?
We will make this decision on a case by case basis, however there are some guidelines that have been established by the CDC which we will follow. For our patients who are healthy, we will most likely not treat with tamiflu, as it does not offer much benefit. Also, it is possible that the influenza virus could be resistant to tamiflu, or will become resistant to this medication as the season progresses. We will take into consideration the family circumstances in deciding who should be treated, as there are exceptions to these generalizations.
Who should be seen in the office?
Please don’t hesitate to call for an appointment if you are sick. Many times people think they have the flu, but just have a cold. Other times they could have other illnesses such as pneumonia or other bacterial infections which require antibiotics.
What can you do to reduce the spread of flu?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep purell or other hand sanitizers in your car, at your desk, and throughout your home.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cough into your elbow. Dispose of used tissues properly.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you are running a fever, you should not go to work.
For more information:
The following websites provide good sources of information on this topic: