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Seasonal Flu

February 17, 2014

You suspect that you have contracted the flu.

Should you see a doctor?
Yes, you should.

Influenza strikes with sudden onset illness. It is a respiratory infection caused by influenza A and B viruses. In Canada, it peaks each year in the late fall and winter months.

You can access updated information on the spread of influenza through the FluWatch website.

The time between disease exposure and onset of symptoms (incubation period) is 1 to 4 days, and infected individuals are able to spread the virus 24 hours before symptoms start. Contagion peaks in the first 2 to 3 days of illness.

Most sufferers will recover within a week or ten days, and are able to nurse themselves back to health. A useful self-care reference can be found at:  http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/influenza-treatment.

Some people, however, are at greater risk of severe complications. They should be evaluated by a doctor early on … to assess whether they need antiviral treatment or not.

Anyone who has developed symptoms within 48 hours is a candidate for antiviral treatment. Those at risk for severe disease (or immunocompromised) require treatment, and may be deemed eligible for antivirals even after the first 48 hours.

Close contacts of those infected should also see a doctor in order to discuss early treatment (if at risk and symptoms develop), or receive presumptive treatment (if immunosuppressed).

In conclusion, it is always best to see your doctor if you are ill. The appropriateness of antiviral (Tamiflu, Relenza) use is a complex issue, best discussed with a doctor.

Remember that prevention is better than cure, so get your flu vaccine this season.

Locals can get the flu shot over here: http://www.pnrha.ca/bins/content_page.asp?cid=20-14670

Links:

http://io9.com/every-single-flu-vaccine-myth-debunked-1648554144/+whitsongordon

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