Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Flu HURTS!

The Flu HURTS!  It is a PAIN SYNDROME!  That's one big reason to avoid it and respect it. People tend to have pain in their back, head and all over BEFORE the mucous hits their entire respiratory system on the second day.  IT HURTS!

And, there is too much mucous, AND fever every twelve hours or so with increased aches and pains.

And many people, in the midst of the mucous, aches, pains and fevers have the common thought, "if I died, it would feel a lot better".

The Flu is now moving into the Miami Valley  with five or more days of symptoms including sore throat, body aches/ pains, fever and cough.  On day four to six, the infection is often so annoying that the patient or parents seeks medical attention, convinced of the need for an antibiotic, chest x--ray or cough suppressant.

People with chest tightness from tiring muscles plus or minus wheezing seek relief from their painful misery.

Remember Henry The Hand and the principles of hand washing to minimize the spread of the flu.  AND, Don't touch your face!

Some people just want to get a note so they can get back to school or work when well.  Employers just don't allow a good illness to follow its natural history without involving physicians.  If you know you don't need medical attention, can't you be trusted to decide when you're recovering or recovered?  Is it a covered benefit under your insurance to use a physician when not ill to get a note to return to work?  Can't your mother just write an excuse for your absence?  (No -according to many employer and school policies.  The now functional worker or student must go to a doctor to get cleared for their illness-caused absence, sitting in a waiting room with the coughing people, before their school or employer will believe them as to why they were absent.  What a waste of resources this type of distrust generates.)

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Treatment:  Rest AT HOME!  Don't go anywhere!  You are a threat to others.  Honor yourself and them by keeping away.  Don't go to see doctors or urgent care or emergency rooms, either, unless you really need them for something you and your family can't handle.

Water!  Water! and Water!
Aspirin is a great pain killer for adults with the flu, but may cause death in children because of Reye's Syndrome.  Ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help both adults and children with pain and fever (a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees).  Above 101, the fever adds to the pain.

Cough suppressants, expectorants, decongestants as needed.  Vitamin C 1000 mg may be helpful. likewise echinacea (puerpuera, pallida and augustifolia)..  Vitamin D3 2000 IU daily may prevent the flu, as may the flu shot.  Unfortunately the flu shot only covers three of the many strains and the first one that has hit the area seems to be insensitive to the three strains covered by the shot.  Better luck next year.

I don't think much of Tamiflu, which may shorten the flu by one day- if started in the first forty eight hours of symptoms, but cause mental confusion with delusions or hallucinations at a relatively high cost.

If you have a serious condition and need to see your physician to clarify how to handle the flu in the midst of the serious condition, see your doctor.  You matter.  They can help to clarify how to handle your flu relative to your other disease and all of your medications.

If you see your physician for the flu, don't even think of asking them to handle any of your chronic problems or ongoing medications, etc. while there.  You only need to clarify your flu related issues and get home.  Minimize the exposure to the patients in the waiting room, the office staff and the physician.  

Especially if you are on chronic opiates for a stable pain syndrome, the flu visit is not the time to ask your physician to engage about your pain management.  That is a complex separate visit with all sorts of "quality" and regulatory overtones, way more complex than most people on chronic opiates are respectful of, which is one of the reasons fewer and fewer physicians are willing to treat pain.  People on chronic opiates OFTEN become manipulative and devious and desparate.  The FDA just multiplied by six the amount of time a person on chronic hydrocodone (Norco, Vicoden, Lortab) must visit their physician.  They changed those drugs to a Schedule II (similar to Percocet, oxycodone, oxycontin) which means they can't be refilled or called in to a pharmacy.

If you get a complication of the flu, see your physician.  A complication is whatever you think is a complication.  Especially difficulty breathing, exaustion from coughing, new fever after the fever stage is over, etc.

The flu feels great once it's over.  That's because the Flu HURTS

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