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.
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
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.
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.
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.