The Flu and You

The Flu and You
Sarah Warburton

One day you wake up with a cough, a sore throat, and feeling sore and tired out. Is it a cold…or is the flu? Dr. Shannon Orsak of St. Michael’s Emergency Rooms says, “Most cases of the flu have more severe symptoms and a more sudden onset than symptoms of a cold. The flu may also cause a fever of 101 or more. Here in Fort Bend, the flu season usually runs from October through April…and we’ve already seen a flu-related death in Dallas this October. I urge everyone to get the flu vaccine…and remember we’re here for you throughout the holiday season!”

When does your “sick day” turn into an emergency? Dr. Orsak says, “The state of Texas has adopted “the prudent layperson standard”…so if you think your symptoms are serious enough to go to an emergency room, then that constitutes an emergency. If you’re coughing up blood, have a fever of 103 or higher, have bluish tinged lips, or are confused and disoriented, come in and let our doctors make the diagnosis.” The most common method for diagnosing the flu is an “antigen” test which can be processed by a St. Michael’s lab technician and evaluated by a St. Michael’s Emergency Room doctor. Dr. Orsak says, “Any time at all, you can call on us with any emergency…large or small. We can work together to stop the spread of flu this season.”

You’ll want to know as soon as possible if you or your kids have the flu…or just the sniffles. Most antiviral medications must be taken within the first forty-eight hours to be effective. “Preventing the spread of diseases helps everyone,” says Dr. Orsak. “At St. Michael’s we offer separate rooms for children, for infectious diseases, and for general emergencies…and we get you treated without a wait. We’d always rather wait on the patient than have a patient wait on us!”

St. Michael’s currently accepts more than 200 insurance plans, including Cigna, Blue Cross, United & Humana. St. Michael’s Emergency Rooms does not currently participate in any Medicare or Medicaid programs.”

The CDC urges emergency medical care for a sick child with any of these symptoms:

  • Rapid breathing or trouble breathing
  • Skin color looking bluish or gray
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting; general listlessness
  • Not wanting to be held or comforted
  • Flu-like symptoms improve, then return with fever and cough

The CDC encourages adults to seek emergency medical care with any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Having a high fever for more than three days

St. Michael’s Emergency Rooms
16062 SW Freeway (at Hwy 6)
Sugar Land, TX 77479

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