Is it the Flu – or "Influenza-Like Illness"?
We hear about it all the time: Your child has been coughing ... sore throat ... headache. You took her temperature and it's normal. You had the flu vaccine, so it can’t be flu. So, you wait it out, only to find out she’s now feeling lethargic and pale, with body aches, continuing to cough and you don’t know what to do. You end up taking her out of school early, missing her sports and sitting in the Urgent Care for 2 hours before you're finally taken into the examination room. Upon an assessment with a look into her throat and ears, and a listen to her chest you are told, "well it could be flu but she’s had the flu vaccine. You can’t have the rapid flu test since she’s out of the window period which means it is highly unreliable. And she can’t take antiviral drugs since you’ve waited longer than the 48-hour start of symptoms period." It can be incredibly frustrating for a parent. What does this all mean?
You are told your daughter has Influenza-like Illness (ILI). You start wondering, how can I help her if she has something like the flu, but not the flu? What does this mean? The doctor doesn’t know what virus the child has. And since there appears to be no clear-cut remedy, you're told to treat the symptoms. So you leave after paying a copay, and without any real answers. You've wasted a great number of hours only to be told to return home and rest. A flu-like illness diagnosis means your daughter has the flu….or not.
In the middle of an outbreak, when some doctors see a patient with an illness that appears to be flu, they just go ahead and treat them. When this recently happened to me, upon pressing my physician, she was more concerned with the adverse effects of flu treatment. When I asked how I could get some relief for my daughter I was told to take honey as a study had indicated it helped relieve her nighttime cough which was leading to her feeling lethargic.
According to the CDC's key influenza indictors for the week ending February 9th 2019, the proportion of outpatient visits for ILI increased to 4.8% which is above the national baseline of 2.2%. The highest hospitalization rate is among adults 65 years and older (64.1 hospitalizations per 100,000 population). The 2018-19 flu season vaccine is 47% effective overall and 61% effective for children ages 6 months through 17 years. That compares with 40% vaccine effectiveness across all age groups for the previous two seasons. To translate: this means they still haven’t quite gotten it right.
Whether or not you have had the vaccine, if you haven’t had the vaccine it’s not too late. And if you are starting to feel symptoms of body aches, coughing, or feeling lethargic (all typical flu symptoms), get yourself tested. At TealHeal we come directly to the door. No waiting it out in Urgent Care – we can get you assessed and on the right regimen to help you on your way to recovery. Home truly is the best place to heal.