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How can you tell if you have the flu without coming to the hospital?

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • A medical consultation should be sought immediately if a patient has been in contact with someone suffering with the flu virus or if the following flu-like symptoms are present: high fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, aches and pains or severe exhaustion.
  • Should influenza require antiviral treatment, administering medication within 48 hours of symptom onset is the most effective way of curing the condition, as well as reducing the likelihood of complications and decreasing the risk of passing the virus onto others.

 

As we officially enter the monsoon season, various types of illness and disease are sure to follow—especially the flu. Although we are all being extra careful—adhering to social distancing measures, wearing face masks, using alcohol gels or frequently washing our hands, exercising more and eating healthier diets—we are all still at risk of getting sick. If you do start to experience symptoms of illness, it is important to receive an assessment of the symptoms in order to ascertain the type and severity of your condition. This will enable timely and effective treatment, which is the key to making a full and speedy recovery.

Which groups are most at risk of the flu?

The monsoon season (from June to October) and the cool season (from January to March) are considered particularly dangerous with respect to influenza outbreaks. There are huge numbers of people infected with the virus each year despite the availability of an influenza vaccine.

  • The most commonly infected groups are young infants and school-aged children, with many of these cases being severe and involving complications such as pneumonia, sinusitis, ear infection and respiratory failure.
  • The groups most at risk of developing severe complications are the elderly (those over the age of 65), children under the age of 5, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, asthma, kidney disease, and immune system deficiencies, and patients undergoing chemotherapy alongside immunotherapy treatments.

Rapid recovery from the flu is possible if the symptoms are detected early enough

Being on the lookout for the onset of flu-like symptoms is crucial, with a typical influenza infection consisting of the following:

  • High fever
  • Shivers
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Aches and pains
  • Severe exhaustion
  • Stomach pain and diarrhea (may affect some children)

It is also important for patients to inform their doctor if they have come into contact with an infected patient as this will accelerate the diagnosis. In cases that require treatment with antiviral drugs, administering medication within the first 48 hours will hasten recovery, and reduce the likelihood of complications—especially in high-risk groups—and decrease the chances of spreading infection to others2.

New Normal: treating the flu without the need for a hospital visit

It is easy to see how timely diagnosis and treatment can be so crucial to infected patients, their families, and those close to them. The New Normal era that has caused so much upheaval in our lives has also resulted in telecommunication services being developed that enable online medical consultations and often eliminate the need for a hospital visit. Our Samitivej Virtual Flu Clinic is already providing these services. Moreover, for cases that require a test to confirm a diagnosis, our hospital now offers home testing services that provide instant results. Alternatively, patients who wish to visit the hospital for screening can now choose our Fast Track service option, with the follow-up consultation and result reporting over video call. This means you no longer need to make a second visit to the hospital.

It is now possible to have medication and other supplies delivered to your door, which goes to show just how much time you can save by using the Samitivej Virtual Flu Clinic. This service also reduces the risk of spreading or contracting infections by significantly decreasing hospital visits. Nevertheless, in cases where patients suffer from severe symptoms and require hospital treatment, our medical professionals will provide all the advice you need to stay safe on your journey to a Samitivej Hospital.


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References
  • Division of Epidemiology/Division of General Communicable Diseases/Office of Information regarding Risk Prevention and Development of Personal Hygiene Practices: Center for Disease Prevention. 8 January 2020.
  • Lehnert R et al. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2016; 113(47) 799-807.
  • Healthcare Board, Ministry of Public Health, working alongside faculties of medicine from various universities: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Influenza. 3rd edition. 27 September 2011.

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