Swine Flu: When To See Your Doctor

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Questions about swine flu are increasing as the virus spreads to ten states in the U.S. and nine countries.

The CDC now confirms 91 cases including one death nationwide -- still no cases in Kentucky.

Many people are wondering: when should you go to the doctor?

When 18-month-old Macie Shepherd ran a fever of almost 103 Tuesday night, her mother thought of the toddler who just died in Texas from swine flu.

Holly Shepherd says, "Swine flu's the first thing I thought of, even though there's not been any cases here in Kentucky, I was like flipping out thinking 'Oh no, there's going to have to be one case, maybe this could be the one.' "

Nurses say Shepherd did the right thing having Macie checked out. She tests positive for Influenza Type B -- ruling out swine flu, which is connected only to Type A.

Anita Gambill, LPN at Primary Care in Hazard, says, "Swine flu is a flu like any other flu. You need to come in, see your doctor, be assessed, and be tested."

But it's also the height of allergy season in Kentucky, so people with allergies might experience some of the same symptoms of swine flu.

Rinda Vanderhoof, Nurse Administrator for the Laurel County Health Department, says, "So they just need to be aware of what they've experienced in the past, and if they feel that this is something that they get every year at this time, then yes it probably is their allergic symptoms."

If the symptoms are not routine or you've travelled to other countries, health officials say it's better to err on the side of caution. Samples from any patients testing positive for Influenza Type A will go on to a state lab, where officials can test for swine flu.

The CDC expects more swine flu deaths, and that has moms like Shepherd reconsidering summer travel...

"We'll probably not have any vacation this year," she says, because she doesn't want to take any chances with her daughter.

Like any other flu, health officials say prevention is key.
Wash your hands, use sanitizer, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and wipe down commonly touched surfaces like keyboards and telephones.
We also want to remind you, you can NOT get swine flu from eating pork.

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