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disturbing news

Well, not disturbing so much as ... puzzling. A few days ago the doctor put me on zithromax (antibiotics) for my whatever the heck I had. After the questions and exam I jokingly said, "You know, I couldn't help noticing I have all the symptoms of H1N1." (For those who don't know, that's the so-called swine flu that everyone's been talking about.)

He looked at me seriously and replied, "If this was October, I'd have you swabbed and tested immediately."


Granted, cool weather is when flu spread becomes a serious issue, but I thought they wanted to keep an eye on H1N1. Besides, antibiotics are contra-indicated in flu cases.

So the way I see it, he's treating me for a routine bug but telling me there's a chance I might have actually had a mild (well, relatively mild) case of the flu; and since I'd mentioned earlier that my HSA account was almost empty, maybe he was just trying to save me the bill for the test. I'd feel like a self-diagnosing paranoid if I asked him, and besides -- I'm feeling better. Comments? Is there a doctor in the house?


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 22nd, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
Sounds like you're a picture of physical, and mental, health, Mark. :)
Aug. 23rd, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Du'oh -- say that again, I couldn't hear you because of the little voices in the back of my mind. ;-)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 23rd, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
I think this could definitely go into the glass half full category, since I'm feeling a lot better now. And maybe there *is* no such thing as a mild case of H1N1, in which case it would have been obvious from the moment he walked into the treatment room that I didn't really have it.
Aug. 22nd, 2009 10:38 am (UTC)
Huh - so why would he only test you in October? There are people being diagnosed all the time all through the year, surely?

Anyhoo - glad to read you're feeling better, so on the positive side, you won't get it again if you've had it mildly.
Aug. 23rd, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
Here in the northern part of America, October is the official start of flu season -- the time when new outbreaks begin and the number of cases soar because it gets colder, causing people to shut up their homes and businesses. Less fresh air, more people crammed together with less ventilation, weaker immune systems -- if H1N1 is going to really break out, it's most likely to happen sometime between then and the holidays. Not that January and February are much better, but they'll likely have a flu vaccine fully distributed by then.

My guess is that a. He could tell at a glance that I wasn't feeling bad enough for it to be Swine flu, and b. he was trying to save me the cost of the test. The insurance would have covered it, but I have a high deductible because of my Health Savings Account, and since our medical costs were low this year I haven't made up the deductible yet.
Aug. 22nd, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
As your local Swabbing Professional... honestly! I have a bit of paper to say that I am working as a Swabbing Professional when I do work for Public Health!

If you have the following - High temp (over 98.5F) for at least 24 hours (bringing it down with paracetamol, but it going back up as the paracetamol wears off still counts!); and at least two of the following - joint and limb pains, sore throat, runny nose; or just one of those plus vomiting.

Then we would swab you - but as a Public Health matter. Surely you must have some body responsible for control and monitoring of outbreaks of things - even your health care system can't expect you to pay for epidemiological research?

Swabbing helps us keep track of spread - we are actually treating on symptoms, giving out Tamiflu if people fulfill the above, and then to their close contacts if the first swab comes back positive (all Tamiflu is free - they don't even have to pay the usual prescription fee - what you call co-pay I think) - this is mainly to stop the spread rather than to help the person with the symptoms - so Public Health again.

The only advantage to having the swabbing done is that you will know whether you have had H1N1 and so whether or not to be vaccinated. But for that alone, our epidemiology is helping as, obviously, we give each person their own results.

So - shame you don't know, as, I presume, all your fire-fighters will get the vaccine for free to keep the service running, if there is an outbreak in the autumn - and you could have saved them money if you knew you'd had it!

Aug. 22nd, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
It does make me wonder how, or even if, the US Public Health people are keeping track of the virus. Do they assume no-one will get it severely till October? And what plans do they have to deal with a mass outbreak if they have to check the state of everyone's insurance before treating or even testing?
(no subject) - fenchurche - Aug. 22nd, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cbtreks - Aug. 22nd, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - curiouswombat - Aug. 22nd, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - curiouswombat - Aug. 23rd, 2009 09:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 24th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - curiouswombat - Aug. 24th, 2009 07:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 25th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - curiouswombat - Aug. 25th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 26th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
Not a doctor and don't know any personally, but I'll try to remember to ask my sister P on Sunday. (She's a nurse, so might have some insight.)
Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
Looking back on it, I think he was saying that if I'd presented those symptoms in October, he'd have tested me just as a precaution. I think I just took it wrong.
(no subject) - cbtreks - Aug. 23rd, 2009 03:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Aug. 23rd, 2009 06:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
I can say that the flu has nothing to do with cold weather. Where I live, we have no cold weather, and people still get the flu regularly.

Best of luck kicking this thing!
Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
The flu doesn't disappear entirely all year round here, but when it gets cold people close up the buildings, so there isn't good ventilation to keep the germs from accumulating. Add that to people staying indoors more and gathering for things like school, and it just spreads a lot easier.

It's kicked! Just a chest cold, I think.
Aug. 22nd, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
if the antibiotics are making you better, you don't have a viral infection since you're right, they don't affect viruses.

It sounds like a dumb thing for him to say really
Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
No, I didn't start the antibiotics until after the appointment. In retrospect, I realized he was saying that he would have tested me during flu season as a precaution -- he didn't think I might actually have it now. Makes a lot more sense, that way.
(no subject) - cornerofmadness - Aug. 23rd, 2009 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
Unless you're really attached to this doctor, I might consider getting a new one... because if he suspected you might have H1N1 and instead of testing you for it has just been tossing antibiotics at you, well, he doesn't sound like a very good doctor.
Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:29 am (UTC)
In retrospect, I realized he was saying that he would have tested me during flu season as a precaution -- he didn't think I might actually have it now. Makes a lot more sense, that way. I should have known that, because I already knew he avoids giving out antibiotics, when he can.
Aug. 22nd, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
Holy crap! We're still hearing about summer cases of H1N1 around here - maybe he should re-test you.....

Feel better soon.
Aug. 23rd, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
Maybe, but in retrospect I think he was saying that if I'd presented those symptoms in October, he'd have tested me just as a precaution. In other words ... mistake on my part.
Aug. 22nd, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
I have access to docs on staff to answer questions/concerns thru my work. It's a freebie, done thru email and they encourage all questions. Want me to ask about your sitch? I'll have an answer in 24 hours usually.
Aug. 23rd, 2009 06:21 am (UTC)
Thanks, but I don't think it'll be necessary. Looking back on it, I don't think he was suggesting I might have it; Ithink he was saying that if I'd presented those symptoms in October, he'd have tested me just as a precaution.

I'm so embarrassed.
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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