Well I just worked one very long, hard 24 hour shift. I saw 40-50 patients, and the large majority were battling viruses. So in reality I busted my behind to truly help virtually no one. In fact, despite my neurotic hand washing, I, and our waiting room, probably did more to help the viruses than the patients.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; our emergency medical system, in relation to infectious disease in particular, is simply nuts. Why attract folks with infections to a single waiting room to sit and hack amongst pregnant women, elderly diabetics, or little kids with ankle sprains? It’s just kooky.
Flu season is officially here. But that doesn’t mean you should rush to your doctor, or anywhere for that matter, when you feel achy with fever. It means if you are well, first off, you should avoid people with flu. Granted, for those of us with kids or who work in hospitals, that’s easier said than done.
And if you have it, then rest, stay hydrated, soak up gramma’s chicken soup and chamomile tea with honey. Serve ibuprofen with every meal, or acetaminophen if you have tummy troubles too. Ricola lozenges are my favs for throat pains. To be a model citizen, avoid folks who are still healthy.
Lastly, if you’ve heard of a miracle drug called Tamiflu, if you’re in the first 2-4 days of the illness, and if you’re convinced that it will help… and if you haven’t bought into Tamiflu conspiracy theories… then find a good movie, stay in your jammies, and give Pre-R a shout. We’re happy to help… via telemedicine… please.
Because when it comes to infectious disease, I’ll admit here and now; I’m a far better listener and doctor on screen than I am in person, especially after being hacked on by patient number 50.