We are in the midst of what is shaping up to be a volatile and dangerous flu season. The influenza virus has already claimed the lives of nine people statewide. Local doctors are adjusting and taking a more practical and less hazardous way of diagnosing patients.
Dr. Mike Mohrman is the Chief Medical Officer at Neighborhood Health Clinic, he says believing that we will see more influenza diagnoses because of the cold weather is a misconception. You get influenza from contact with other people.
Dr. Mohrman says he gets plenty of calls from patients describing their symptoms and if it's flu season he adds some doctors will diagnose over the phone. Though that’s not what you learn in medical school, it can prevent infected patients from leaving their house and potentially spreading the virus.
“In the middle of influenza season, we know it’s in the community, we know it’s in the state. The symptoms are pretty classic and different from the cold that we all get. So yes, I think primary care providers from time to time will do that,” said Dr. Mohrman.
If you have influenza Dr. Mohrman says your symptoms could include a fever, body aches, headaches and a dry cough.
He recommends plenty of rest and fluids and an ibuprofen for the aches.
Prescribed flu medication can shorten the illness and it’s recommended if you have a family.