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Flu or Influenza symptoms: Why you should care

October 19, 2019

So every year you get asked from all sides, your work, your pharmacy, your school and
your doctors office. Have you gotten your flu shot? Well in this video we’re going to talk
to you about what that Flu is and why you should care about getting it. Also make sure you stick around till the end
and I’ll share with you another tip that you can use to save money on your health care. Welcome to Family Med, your medical home for practical and accurate information to help
your family make healthy decisions. I’m Doctor Erik Richardson, my passion is
helping you cut through all the health information clutter on the internet. If that sounds like the kind of information
you or family needs make sure you follow along with us, hit that subscribe button and share
it with your friends. So What is the Flu? There is still a lot of confusion on what
we are talking about when we use the word FLU. A lot of times when people talk about the
flu they are thinking about the stomach virus that sends you the toilet with vomiting and
diarrhea. That’s actually something we call gastroenteritis
or what most will call it the stomach flu. No, what we are talking about today is Influenza,
this is a respiratory illness causes by the influenza virus that affects mostly the respiratory
tract. This is more than your common cold. This is a serious illness that at times can
lead to death. In the 2017-2018 season there were approximately 49 Million people with flu illnesses
960,000 hosptilizations 79,000 deaths 185 Children died and 80% of those were not immunized To put even more context into it, 2018 is
the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic. That year 675,000 people in the United States
died and over 50 million people worldwide died. That is a staggering number which I don’t
think in our modern time can even comprehend. But this is real, this disease is real. So what are the symptoms and how do you know
you have it? In actuality the only way to know for sure
is to get tested at your doctor’s office, but there are certain signs that point to
it being more likely. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all
of these symptoms: fever
cough sore throat
runny or stuffy nose body aches
headache chills
fatigue sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
They sound a lot like regular cold symptoms don’t they, check out this figure from the
CDC where it spells out the differences. I’ll put it in the notes below as well as
well so you can reference it. The main difference we tend to see with the
Flu is the quickness in which it comes on and the severity in which it hits. The classic presentation that we will see
in the clinic is the patient who is laying on my exam table coughing their lungs out
with a high fever and shaking chills and body aches. It’s more than just the sniffles. So why is it important that you know the difference? Well of course its important to know so you
can know what to expect from your illness, but its also important to know because fortunately with influenza there are some treatments available that can potentially help decrease the severity of symptoms and decrease the length of your illness. If you have symptoms that are consistent with
influenza and if it is caught within the first 24-48 hours then there are some treatments
that are available through your doctor. The most common one that you may hear about
is oseltamivir or Tamiflu. This one has been around for a while and can
be helpful to decrease the time of illness and severity of symptoms. In studies, it has been found to decrease
the time of illness by about a day. There is a brand new one called Baloxavir
or Xofluza. This was just approved for use in October
of 2018 so we haven’t had the chance to see this one in day to day practice, but this
is a once a day dosing that seems to have showed that it works better than the Tamiflu
in the study that got them approval through the FDA. Since this is so new we really have to see how
this plays out over time. Not everybody will likely get the medication,
nor should they. If you go to your doctor, however, those who especially may benefit
are people in Nursing Homes, those who are over 65, those with chronic conditions such
as asthma, COPD, Diabetes, liver disease, cancers, kidney failure and those who are
very obese. Those with severe symptoms may also benefit. So get into your doctor and talk to them about
your options. Unfortunately, for true Influenza, other than
the prescription medications we listed there isn’t much you can do to treat it other
than medications to help with the symptoms. Prevention really is the key when it comes
to influenza. For a good discussion on best steps that you
can take to prevent from getting sick check out my video on how to keep from getting sick. The other way to prevent of course is getting
our flu shot. We’re going to dive into this a little deeper
on a future video but the fact of the matter is that by getting your flu shot you are less
likely to get the flu, if you do get the flu you are less likely to be admitted to the
hospital for it, if you are admitted to the hospital you are less likely to be in the
ICU and you are less likely to die from it. So the fact of the matter is that the Flu
shot is the best chance you have of avoiding it
So I hope that you’ve been able to gain a little better appreciation to what is Influenza
and why it’s so important that we try and prevent it. I hope that you have found this information
to be useful. If so make sure you take the time to like
this video, subscribe to our channel and even hit that notification button so you don’t
miss out on any of our new content. Doing so really helps me to be able to continue
to produce useful content like this. Remember my purpose in sharing this information
for you is to educate you in things that you can think about in trying to make decisions
in your own health. In no way should be taken as direct medical
advice to you in your own situation. Please consult your own doctor for concerns
regarding your specific situation. Bonus tip:
OK so for those who stuck around till the end, here’s your bonus tip on how to save
money on your health care. One of the most expensive places to have care
done is in the hospital. If you are going in for an elective surgery
pick a surgeon who does operations at an independent outpatient surgery center. Not all surgeries are appropriate to be done
there but many are. You can save up to as much as half in the
cost of your surgery by doing so. So that’s all I have for today, again make
sure to hit that subscribe button and check out the other videos on our site. So until next time, This is FamilyMed with
Dr Erik Richardson, remember to please take care of your body because it’s the only
one you have!

1 Comment

  • Reply Bill W February 28, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    ugh, glad flu season is almost over, thanks for the info though, i'll get my shot next year

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