G.R. asks from Arlington, TX on October 28, 2009
D.C. answers from Dallas on October 29, 2009
You won't be able to tell yourself. You'll have to go to the doctor and get a test to tell which strain of flu it is.
I recommend getting on top of it as quickly as possible, especially since you have young children.
And no. The "flu is the flu" is a bit of a cavalier attitude toward a strain of the flu that killed more children in October than an entire "bad" seasonal flu season (September to May). I don't think the media is making up deaths to "overhype" anything...http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20091016/child-h1n...
Yes, this is the flu. But because it's a new strain that is slightly mutated from the regular seasonal flu strains, our bodies don't have the right antibodies present to effectively fight it, as we can the other varieties of seasonal flu that are in circulation.
I think if you have children you have a responsibility to get on it quickly---get it tested quickly, for a quick diagnosis, and then get it treated quickly with an anti-viral medication like Tamiflu.
Yes, it can be quite mild. But you can increase those chances by nipping it in the bud.
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J.J. answers from Dallas on October 28, 2009
Essentially you don't - H1N1 is predominantly what we are seeing right now - but it also a component of the seasonal flu - the symptoms are almost identical. H1N1 seems to hit really suddenly with fever spiking really quickly. Only a test will tell you for sure if you feel you have to know which one - which would only be if you are considering the H1N1 vaccine - the actual test for H1N1 can take a week or longer - the standard office test screens for type A and type B - most strains of type A are H1N1 - but again. People are over-hyping this - yes, it has hit hard, fast and "early" though it is really just a continuation of the H1N1 outbreak that we saw this spring. I certainly don't have a "cavalier" attituge about this, but essentially flu is flu and not this not more virulent than other strains - or more deadly then seasonal flu - last year more people died of seasonal flu than H1N1... get your facts! Prevention - HANDWASHING and cough hygeine!!!
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L.C. answers from Dallas on October 29, 2009
The only way to know is to have a flu test. That will designate between Influenza A and Influenza B. If it is Influenza A positive, then it is more than likely the swine flu. They cannot say for sure unless they do further testing, which they do not typically do because it is expensive and not necessary. 99% of the flu out there right now is swine flu. My son just got over swine flu. However, he was first diagnosed with a cold eventhough he had every symptom of the flu. The next day, he was very sick and the pedi refused to give him Tamiflu. We went to urgent care because we knew it was much more than a cold and they took great care of him. I am saying this because if we had taken the pedi's word and believed it was a cold, he could have gotten much sicker. If your child has all the symptoms of the flu, including vomiting, high fever, very lethargic, ask for a flu test or treatment for flu symptoms. This is nothing to play around with.
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A.D. answers from Dallas on October 29, 2009
I've been told by a nurse friend that H1N1 generally hits more suddenly than your usual flu, it tends to hit full force all at one time rather than symptoms that add up during the day. You still need the test to determine whether or not it is H1N1.
M.M. answers from Dallas on October 29, 2009
About 4 weeks ago our son got a fever and other flu like symptoms, so we to him into see his doctor. The doctor checked for everything. They finally did a cotton swab test that took less than 5 minutes and sure enough he had the H1N1 virus. He was put on Tamiflu and within a day or so he started feeling a bitter. The only thing left was that nasty cough that most little ones get that seem to last forever. I like to think that my husband and I stayed on top of things. I'm glad we did, no one likes to see their little ones sick and it also prevented it from getting worse. So like the other mommies said, just watch over your kiddos and you will know that it is more than just a little cold. If you have health insurance, take then in to see the doctor. It's worth the peace of mind. Don't diagnose yourself.
L.W. answers from Dallas on October 29, 2009
I agree. Just take care of your babies and watch them. If they have a fever and motrin works, they feel fine..keep them home. If they are sick, acting sick, you know there are sick..see a dr. or urgent care. We all had it in my house and yes..we were "type A flu" positive. Again, they can't tell you if its H1N1. We all made it with mild fever, some coughing. Lots of juice, motrin, steam baths..we were fine in 4-6 days.