Doctor's Orders

Preparing for 2019 Flu Season – What You Should Know

By: Dr. Joseph Chow, President, TEAMHealth Ambulatory Care

 

Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about flu season. Many health-care providers begin offering the flu shot as early as August. It may seem like flu season just ended, and that’s because last year’s flu season peaked late – in March vs. the typical December/January peak. In 2018, we even saw flu cases as late as early May.

 

Why see a doctor if you think you have the flu?

Some of us are guilty of diagnosing ourselves after a quick Google search, but it’s important to know that flu-like symptoms you may experience can represent illnesses other than the flu. Pneumonia, for instance, presents much like the flu, with fever, achiness and coughing. When you self-diagnose your illness, you’re missing the important opportunity for a clinician to physically evaluate your symptoms and determine the cause. If you are in fact diagnosed with the flu, a clinician can then treat the flu, alleviate your symptoms and work to prevent any complications.

 

What is the best way to protect myself and my loved ones from the flu?

Remember FLU!

 

FightAs always, the flu shot is your best preventative protection from contracting the flu.

CLinician – High-risk populations will benefit most from flu medications, such as Tamiflu, which may help to lessen the length and severity of symptoms. This includes the elderly, people with chronic medical problems and young children. The “average” healthy person may not need to take Tamiflu, as symptoms will eventually resolve on their own and taking Tamiflu could cause unwanted side effects.

Urgency – If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it’s important to see a clinician as quickly as possible for treatment, as medications are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

 

As flu season approaches, please remember the importance of being examined by a clinician to determine whether you have the flu, or if your symptoms are the result of a different illness like pneumonia or strep throat, or complications such as dehydration or asthma attacks.

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“My daughter and I visited the Orchard Park Road location of Immediate Care on Saturday evening.  I don’t know if I will receive a questionnaire to tell you this, but we had a really great experience at this facility.  This location is so well run!  We were greeted at the door by a very cheerful person (so sorry I do not remember her name).  She gave us all of the information we needed and set expectations to what our wait time might be so that we had enough time to fill out our paperwork in the car. 

Our nurse, Michelle, kept in contact with us to let us know when we would be allowed to enter the building for our tests.  Michelle was very thorough in her questions.  She took our vitals, and the test was administered quickly, and as painlessly as humanly possible.  Our doctor, Katie, arrived several minutes later to ensure we understood everything about the testing procedures.  In such a stressful time, everyone at this facility was patient, pleasant and very thorough.

Our wait time to enter the building was just over an hour, as expected.  Given the numbers in Erie County, it could have been so much longer.  Please thank your team for making this process so easy and efficient.  These are difficult times.  We could all use more compliments and fewer complaints.”

November 16, 2020