Rapid Flu Testing Now Available

Unfortunately, cold symptoms, flu symptoms and COVID symptoms can be very similar, so its difficult to tell them apart sometimes.  That’s why I now have rapid testing for influenza (in addition to rapid COVID testing) available in my office.  This is the same standard test that has been done in Urgent Care and the Emergency Room for years.  It tests for both strains of influenza – A and B.  Rapid early diagnosis is important with Flu because treatment is most effective if started within the first 48 hours.  So if you’re sick, please call for a same day appointment so we can get you the right diagnosis and treatment.

More info from CDC https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/fluandyou_upright.pdf

You might want a test if:

  • You have fever, chills and body aches
  • You’ve been exposed to someone who is positive for Influenza
  • You feel sick

Cost $50

Combo with COVID $150

Rapid COVID Testing Now Available

I now have the BD Veritor Plus testing system for COVID-19.  It tests for COVID-19 antigen with a nasal swab (not the one that tickles your brain).  Results are ready in about 15 min.  Sensitivity is 98% – meaning a negative result is correct 98% of the time, although false negative tests can occur 2% of the time.  Specificity is >99% – meaning a positive result is correct >99% of the time.  False positive results are exceptionally rare.

Click here for additional information about this test.

You might want a test if:

  • You got notice of exposure to someone positive for COVID-19
  • You’re thinking about going to visit someone
  • You feel sick

Cost: $125

Combo with Flu $150

Flu Shots in the Year of Covid-19

Does it really matter if I get a flu shot? The short answer is YES !!!!

The flu is dangerous in its own right, hospitalizing and killing tens of thousands of people each year and sidelining millions more for days to weeks. On average, 17 million work days and 38 million school days are missed every year as a result of the flu.
This great article from NPR explains…

Emergency rooms and urgent care clinics are often flooded with flu patients during winter months. So getting a flu shot can help prevent those visits — and thereby prevent the co-mingling of flu patients and COVID-19 patients, who can infect each other and spread their viruses to other ER patients.
In most years, some who get the flu would reasonably choose to ride it out, feeling miserable for a week or so says Dr. Steven Pergam, an associate professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. But this year, “even people who never see a doctor for the flu might be prompted to book an appointment or head for the ER if they feel flu-like symptoms coming on,” Pergam says. That’s because the flu and COVID-19 can share many (though not all) symptoms, including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
“And even if you might only have a few days of feeling poorly,” Pergam says, “transmitting the flu to babies, older people and people with compromised immune systems risks severe illness or death for them.”
Public health experts are also concerned about people having both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. “We don’t know yet whether that could compound either illness, but why take the risk?” says Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.
“No year is a good year to get the flu, but this year — with COVID-19 also raging — it’s especially bad,” says Mark Thompson, an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “People who can avoid the flu will help reduce the burden on a U.S. health care system already overwhelmed by COVID-19,” Thompson says.
Flu Facts

  • Flu sickens between 9 – 45 million people in the US each year.
  • Between 140,000 to 800,000 people in the US are hospitalized each year due to Flu.
  • You can infect other people up to 7 days after becoming sick with the flu?
  • The rate of heart attacks increased 10 X 1-3 days after flu infection
  • The flu shot isn’t perfect, but its a whole lot better than not taking it
  • You cannot get the flu from the flu shot – it can make you feel crummy, that is true. But those symptoms come because your immune system is responding to the vaccine, not the flu.
  • There are now several types of flu vaccines that are NOT made in eggs and thus cause less side effects for many people
  • If you take your flu vaccine early (e.g. Aug/Sep), you can get a booster in January if the flu season is particularly bad

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

Plan Ahead Sign

With all the wildfires raging in California, Oregon and Washington (and the Valley Fire in San Diego county), it’s a potent reminder that we live in Disaster Country. Whether it’s a pandemic, earthquake or wildfire, we all need to be prepared.

  • Have a plan: Essential services may not be available for the first few hours or days following a disaster. We must be ready to act on our own and planning makes a huge difference. Start here.
  • Build a kit: If you have to survive on your own after an emergency, you’ll need the right supplies including food, water, and other items for at least 72 hours. Find a list of what you need for your supply kit here. And keep your kit where its easily accessible for quick evacuation.
  • Take additional steps: For wildfires, this means creating a 100-foot radius from all combustible vegetation around your home. For earthquakes, secure heavy items in your home and consider an earthquake insurance policy. Prepare now for various disaster scenarios.
  • Get the app: San Diego County has a great emergency app – SD Emergency. It will send you warnings about fires or other safety issues and has great maps showing emergencies and shelters. Find it by searching ” SD Emergency” in the app store.

How to Sanitize your Phone and other Devices

Since Coronavirus can be transmitted on inaminate objects, it’s important to sanitize things. We’ve all heard about sanitizing our hands. But what are we to do with our phones – especially since we put them close to our face! The FCC has these suggestions:

  • Unplug the device before cleaning.
  • Use a lint-free cloth slightly dampened with soap and water.
  • Don’t spray cleaners directly onto the device.
  • Avoid aerosol sprays and cleaning solutions that contain bleach or abrasives.
  • Keep liquids and moisture away from any openings on the device.

While it is safe to use disinfectant wipes on many devices, keep in mind that those containing alcohol, bleach or vinegar may wear down the protective coating on a smartphone’s screen.
CDC suggests using alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70 percent alcohol to disinfect touch screens.
You can also take steps to minimize your mobile device’s exposure to germs and the coronavirus.

  • When outside of your home, keep your phone in your pocket, purse or car.
  • When shopping, use a written shopping list, not a list kept on your smartphone.
  • Use a credit card for payment, preferably a contactless one, and not the mobile pay option on your smartphone.
  • After being in public places, only touch your phone after you have washed or sanitized your hands or removed gloves you have worn.
  • Use a hands-free device when making calls so that your phone is not pressed against your face or face mask.