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Medical Minute: Dealing with the Flu

When the flu hits, identifying symptoms right away is key — and UCM’s Virtual ER can help

Call UCM’s Virtual ER the moment you feel flu-like symptoms— it could save you a trip to the emergency room!

A PATIENT’S STORY: Asthma and the flu, a complicated combo

James, a 23-year-old known asthmatic, called UCM Virtual ER stating that he awoke “feeling just fine,” went to work, and right before lunch said he suddenly had chills, intermittent sweats, nasal congestion, coughing, and “horrible” body aches. The UCM emergency medical provider noted that other than asthma intermittently, James is a healthy guy.

However, the UCM emergency medical provider knew that the area where James lived and worked had extensive endemic influenza; since James had little to no other possible diagnoses with the symptoms he was complaining of, the UCM emergency medical provider advised James that he had influenza — the dreaded flu.

Based on her clinical training, the UCM provider made James aware that a flu swab is not necessary this time of year and she advised him on increasing his fluid intake and resting. Because of his asthma history, she also recommended a Tamiflu prescription since it was within the first 2-3 days of symptom onset, which is the perfect time to allow the Tamiflu to limit the replication process of the flu virus within James.

In addition, James was given a work note and was advised that he was contagious until he became 24 hours free from fever.

Are you a high risk for developing severe flu complications? What about someone in your family?

Because James is an asthmatic, it was important that he addressed his flu symptoms immediately, since those with asthma are considered high-risk groups particularly susceptible to a severe case of the flu. Other groups include:

  • Age greater than 65
  • Pregnancy
  • Young children
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Cancer
  • Children with neurological deficits

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