John wrote about this well done article from BBC on flu. This year, we invested in a rapid flu test kit. (CPT 87804) It's excellent. Works like a charm .. in about 5 minutes .. (yeh .. package says 10) .. and it's about as easy as a rapid strep test. My partner diagnosed one person with flu last week .. and I saw two this week. One was an 85 year old man who had been immunized. So far this week .. I've used the test twice .. and both were positive.
I'm well known to be a flu-skeptic. My kids even roll their eyes when friends or family report that they "have the flu." ... since it's almost always "a really bad cold." .. Not the flu.
When telling patients they have a "really bad cold," I hope to be affirming how they feel. they feel "really bad" and it's important that I convey that I am hearing them. It's not "just a cold" (they hear: get out of my office and don't waste my time) .. when I see patients with colds .. I am very careful to make sure that they know that I am taking them seriously .. that their body is working hard to get them better .. and that they don't have (fill in the blank ) .. Pneumonia or sinusitis or something that may cause me to think they would require antibiotics.
Both patients I saw this week were really really sick .. the "doc .. it hit me like a train . I had to have my neighbor drive me here" sick. THIS is influenza.
I'll call the health department and make sure I report these cases.