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Don't Panic

C'mon, people, I appreciate the concern, really, but get a grip (or is that grippe?). It's just the flu.

In most cases, you don't need to see your doctor when you have a cold or the flu. However, if you have any of the symptoms below, seek medical advice.
  • A cold that lasts for more than 10 days
  • Earache or drainage from your ear
  • Severe pain in your face or forehead
  • Temperature above 102° F
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness, sore throat or a cough that won't go away

Emphasis mine. The first five bullets never happened, the hoarseness lasted about three days last week, I never had much of a sore throat, and the cough is a lot better today (i.e., I didn't do it much). I've got most of my energy back, and I think I'm mostly over it.

I think that there is a lot of wasted money in the health care system of people seeing doctors when there's really not much that they can do. It also clogs up emergency rooms. It's particularly bad when they bully them into prescribing antibiotics, which have no effect on a virus, and then they take half the course and quit, thus breeding more resistant bugs. I'm not the type to avoid a doctor if I need to see a doctor, but really folks, it's just the flu.


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Mac wrote:

The interesting bullet was the temp. 102 just tells you one thing...your body is doing what its supposed to do. Now, I've seen the same thing about 104 and I agree there, because that's something your body is having trouble fighting off. Two degrees.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Well, for what it's worth, when I was in the initial, fever stage, 102 was the highest number I ever saw. You do definitely want to see a doc if it gets to 104 for any significant period of time.

LB Parker wrote:

OK, Rand, I'll stop nagging you about it.

It reveals an interesting effect of blogging, though. We have never actually met, and probably never will, yet the format of a blog-and-comments seems to create a sense of intimacy that is usually reserved for one's immediate family and friends. That's why I "yelled" at you as I would have done a family member. Which is silly, since I'm sure your own family is taking that duty!

Anyway, I'm glad you're feeling better, and hopefully your nearest and dearest didn't get the bug.

Josh Reiter wrote:

Yea the doctor can't do much but tell you to get fluids and rest. They may prescribe an antibiotic as a prophylaxes to aid a compromised immune system.

One thing about going to the doctor is that they can report the number of various incidents they encounter which helps in statistical analysis of what type and where a particular influenza strain predominates.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

I look forward to the day this kind of doctoring is automated including Josh Reiter's valid points. Something like a cheap pad stuck on your arm collecting data while you're ill. Something like that can't be far off these days can it?

Anyway great that you're feeling better Rand.

Phlinn wrote:

I disagree in part, but only because of the existence of tamiflu. You have to be diagnosed within a couple of days of the onset of symptons for it to be effective, a flu test doesn't cost much, and influenza is a miserable thing. Don't clog your ER, but going into a walk in clinic to get a quick test isn't a big deal. I wish they didn't make you see an actual doctor to get the test though.

Things can go the other way too. Some people avoid going to the doctor far longer than they should. I have become a lot more likely to see a doctor about localized infections since I had a MRSA infection, but even so it has to be persistent and painful before I consider going to the doctor. Lots of people who have died from infections could have been treated if they had gone in sooner.

Rand Simberg wrote:

I wish they didn't make you see an actual doctor to get the test though.

That's a big part of the problem--the monopoly setup with the medical profession, in which doctors are required for routine things. They could free up a lot of doctor time by allowing nurse practitioners (or even pharmacists) to do testing and write prescriptions. It's very frustrating to have to go to the doctor for no reason other than to get a scrip for (say) an antibiotic for an ear infection.

Phlinn wrote:

Hmm... I need to withdraw my complaint about seeing a doctor. I have been treated by nurse practioners at my walk in clinic before, but only after a nurse or nurse's aid did some preliminaries first. Given that it was actually a minor surgery, I tend to think of them as doctors in all but name.

Daveon wrote:

It's just the flu

Yeah, cos that never killed anyone...

On a more serious note, because, it is one of those rare agreements where I completely agree with Rand, the trouble with some illnesses is they manifest like 'flu and can kill you before you have a chance to even think about it.

I lost a school teacher to Leptospirosis. He cut himself on a canoe expedition on a Friday and was dead on Monday. My nephew went from feeling a little unwell on a Monday morning to being in intensive care with meningitis in under 24 hours. Watching the fever and the speed of onset is important.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on April 7, 2008 8:17 PM.

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