Cold Flu Or Covid Stay Home And Get Tested Northern Health Says
Common cold or COVID? Get tested anyway, a Northern Health Authority doctor encourages area residents.
Influenza, COVID-19 and the common cold, they actually do have a lot of really overlapping symptoms, Dr. Rakel Kling, Northern Health medical health officer, said. Because of this, we really do encourage anyone with symptoms to get tested for COVID-19. Its really the best way to find out which bug you have and whether or not its COVID-19.
Kling said there is no easy way to discern between the common cold, influenza and COVID-19.
A cold and the flu are just as common as holiday jingles over a store P.A. system this time of year and enter into the winter season environment making us ill.
In terms of symptoms, all three conditions share varying levels of fever, coughing, runny nose, and sneezing, but are not limited to just these.
It can make for a very confusing respiratory season, Kling admits.
The most common symptoms of a cold include runny nose, sore throat, cough, headaches and body aches, as well as the stuffy mucousy feeling that we all get when a cold sets in, Kling said.
The flus most common symptoms include fever, cough, shaking and chills, body aches, headache and feeling very fatigued.
They dont happen very often, but when they do, its important to seek care immediately, go to the hospital or call 911, Kling said.
The most well-known symptom of COVID-19 is the loss of smell or taste.
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What Should I Do If I Test Positive For The Flu
If you test positive for the flu, your healthcare provider may prescribe you an antiviral medication, such as Tamiflu or Xofluza . If this is the case, be sure to get this prescription filled as soon as you can. These medications are most effective when you first get sick with the flu.
Besides getting started on any antiviral medications, you should also:
Stay away from other people as much as possible while youre sick.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Wearing a face mask is helpful with this.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you’re unable to access soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Clean any surfaces or items that multiple people touch .
Stay home until youre better. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away without using fever reducers.
If you experience any of the following symptoms you should seek immediate medical care:
Shortness of breath
Finding it extremely hard to wake up
Not being able to urinate at all
You should also see a healthcare provider if your symptoms get better and then get worse again.
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How To Test For Flu
There are a number of tests used to diagnose the flu. The mostcommon are rapid influenza diagnostic tests , and they may beperformed in a health care providers office. RIDTs work by detectingantigens that stimulate an immune response. Arapid molecular assay is another flu test that works by detectinggenetic material of the virus. In addition to rapid tests, there areseveral more accurate and sensitive flu tests that must be performedin specialized laboratories, such as those found in hospitals orstate public health laboratories.
A flu test typically involves a health care provider collectinga sample from the inside of your nose or back of your throat using asterile swab. The swab is then tested for the flu.
When To Consider Further Influenza Testing
Consider sending respiratory specimens for influenza testing by viral culture or RT-PCR to confirm results of an RIDT when:
- A patient tests negative by RIDT when community influenza activity is high and laboratory confirmation of influenza is desired.
- A patient tests positive by RIDT and the community prevalence of influenza is low, and a false positive result is a consideration.
- A patient has had recent close exposure to pigs or poultry or other animals and novel influenza A virus infection is possible See Avian Influenza: Information for Health Professionals and Laboratorians for more information.
Detection of influenza virus infection and prompt implementation of infection prevention and control measures is critical to prevention of nosocomial influenza outbreaks. When there is influenza activity in the community, clinicians should consider influenza testing, including viral culture, for patients who develop signs and symptoms of influenza while they are in a health care facility. This should be done as part of a broader surveillance strategy for influenza as discussed in Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Heath Care Settings.
Suspected influenza institutional outbreaks
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Rapid Diagnostic Test Helps Stop The Spread Of Flu At Nuh
In the last week alone, over 100 cases of flu have been confirmed at Queens Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital.
Symptoms of flu include a fever, shortness of breath and extreme tiredness. The virus spreads easily through coughs and sneezes, so in areas with high footfall such as a hospital flu can pass easily from person to person.
Each year, over 8,000 people are killed by the flu virus in the UK, with the most vulnerable: the elderly, young children and the sick, most at risk.Over 500 patients were admitted to our hospitals with flu last year. So far this year, there has been 357 cases of Influenza A detected on our wards , however 2018 was a particularly heavy year for flu, and the flu season is yet to peak.
Diagnosing and treating flu causes difficulties for clinical staff. When patients present with symptoms, a throat swab is taken, which is sent to the microbiology lab for analysis before a diagnosis report is generated.
The total end-to-end diagnosis process can take over 36 hours for a positive or negative result, which has implications for the clinicians ability to isolate and treat patients with flu within a quick timeframe.
Patients waiting for a flu diagnosis are sometimes given unnecessary antibiotics to treat the symptoms, rather than antivirals which are effective in treating the flu virus.
In some cases, by the time a positive flu diagnosis has been confirmed, the patient has already been discharged and no further treatment is possible.
Comparison Of Rapid Test And Rt
In total, 71 of the 200 samples were positive for influenza virus by cell culture: 16 for influenza virus A and 55 for influenza virus B. Two specimens were positive for respiratory syncytial virus and one specimen each was positive for adenovirus, parainfluenza virus type 2, parainfluenza virus type 3, and herpes simplex virus type 1. One culture was contaminated, and 122 samples were negative. One sample showed a cytopathic effect on MDCK cells, but the presence of influenza virus could not be confirmed by immunofluorescence. Since the sample was positive for influenza virus B by Directigen and RT-PCR and positive by QuickVue, the culture was considered positive for influenza virus B.
Directigen detected influenza virus A in 13 samples confirmed to be positive by viral culture and influenza virus B in 44 samples confirmed to be positive by viral culture but did not detect virus in 9 specimens positive by culture . It gave indeterminate results for 16 samples , of which 1 was positive for influenza virus A, 4 were positive for influenza virus B, 1 was positive for parainfluenza virus type 2, and 1 was positive for parainfluenza virus type 3 by viral culture. Among the samples negative by viral culture, 7 samples were positive by Directigen . Finally, all specimens positive for other respiratory viruses by viral culture were negative by Directigen.
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When Is It Ordered
Flu tests are mostly ordered during flu season , especially when a person is hospitalized, has a weakened immune systems, or is otherwise at an increased risk of serious complications. Testing is usually ordered within 3 days of the onset of signs and symptoms, such as:
- With some flu strains, diarrhea and vomiting
When influenza has not yet been documented in the community, a healthcare practitioner may order a rapid flu test both to document the presence of influenza in the area and to help diagnose an individual’s current illness.
Testing may be ordered during outbreaks of respiratory illnesses when influenza is the suspected cause.
Sometimes testing may be done when someone who died had a severe, acute illness and influenza was the suspected cause.
Become A Fluwatch Sentinel Practitioner
The sentinel influenza-like-illness surveillance system is FluWatch’s primary source for outpatient influenza monitoring data in Canada.
Physicians, nurse practitioners and registered nurses who are involved in primary care are welcome to become FluWatch sentinel practitioners.
Learn more about the FluWatch sentinel practitioner program or e-mail to sign up.
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Benefits And Downsides Of At
To decide if at-home flu testing is a good fit for your needs, its important to consider its potential positives and negatives.
The main possible benefits of at-home flu testing include:
- Convenience: An at-home test can be ordered online and performed at home at your convenience without needing to make an appointment or go to a medical office.
- Testing in isolation: If you are worried about being contagious with the flu, at-home testing allows you to get tested while avoiding contact with other people.
- Option to test for flu and COVID-19: Some at-home test kits are able to test for both the flu and COVID-19 with one test sample.
- Transparent pricing: Most at-home influenza testing involves a single, all-inclusive price that is clearly shown before making your payment.
Some of the main possible downsides of at-home flu testing include:
If you have questions about whether to have at-home influenza testing, you can talk with your doctor about how to evaluate its pros and cons in your specific case.
Types Of Influenza Tests
The first step in diagnosing influenza is almost always a physical examination that includes a review of any active flu-like symptoms. During seasonal flu epidemics, additional testing beyond a physical exam may not be needed to diagnose influenza.
When other tests are needed, they focus on identifying signs of an influenza infection. There are several different tests that can check for the presence of an influenza virus. The choice of which test to prescribe depends on the purpose of testing, how quickly results are needed, test availability, and laboratory capabilities.
One important way that influenza tests can be categorized is based on where the analysis is conducted:
- Rapid, point-of-care tests, sometimes called rapid influenza diagnostic tests , are able to determine whether the test is positive or negative without sending the sample to a lab. These tests usually provide results within 10 to 30 minutes. The design of these tests allows them to be used in many settings including doctors offices, health clinics, and pharmacies.
- Laboratory tests require that the sample be analyzed using equipment or methods that require the use of a medical lab. These tests often take several hours to complete and are not as widely available as rapid tests.
Another important way of categorizing tests is based on how they detect signs of an infection:
Antigen testing can also be done in a laboratory. Laboratory-based antigen testing can take longer but may provide more accurate results.
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Wintery Mix Of Viruses
Winter is the prime cold and flu season. Youre more likely to be indoors and closer to others when its colder outside. Weather also plays a role in the spread of viruses.
Cold and flu viruses survive better and are more transmissible if its cooler and if theres lower humidity, Gordon explains.
Experts are concerned that flu and COVID-19 cases may increase and overlap in the winter. Flu cases usually start to increase around October and peak between December and February. Being infected with flu and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time is possible, as is showing symptoms of both.
If youre sick with the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. Such drugs can make your flu milder and shorten the time you are sick. They work best if theyre used early in your illness.
The FDA has also approved one antiviral drug, called remdesivir, to treat COVID-19. Other treatments are in development and under review. No complementary approaches have been shown to be helpful for fighting off flu or COVID-19.
Fortunately, strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also prevent the spread of flu and cold. Measures like masking and social distancing work for other respiratory viruses, as well as COVID-19, says Dr. Chip Walter, who studies vaccine development at Duke University.
What Kinds Of Flu Tests Are There
A number of tests are available to detect flu viruses in respiratory specimens. The most common are called rapid influenza diagnostic tests . RIDTs work by detecting the parts of the virus that stimulate an immune response. These tests can provide results within approximately 10-15 minutes but may not be as accurate as other flu tests. Therefore, you could still have flu, even though your rapid test result is negative. Other flu tests called rapid molecular assays detect genetic material of the flu virus. Rapid molecular assays produce results in 15-20 minutes and are more accurate than RIDTs.
In addition to RIDTs and rapid molecular assays, there are several more accurate flu tests available that must be performed in specialized laboratories, such as those found in hospitals or public health laboratories. These tests include reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction , viral culture, and immunofluorescence assays. All of require that a health care provider swipe the inside of your nose or the back of your throat with a swab and then send the swab for testing. Results may take one to several hours.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Know
Treated or untreated, most influenza infections will go away within one or two weeks, although fatigue and a cough may last a while longer. A few people, however, may develop serious secondary complications. These complications often arise just as influenza symptoms are fading.
Anyone is susceptible to complications from the flu, but the very young, the elderly, and people who are immunocompromised or who have pre-existing lung disease are most affected. Complications such as pneumonia, sepsis, and encephalitis can be very serious and may require immediate medical treatment.
Should I Get A Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months old and older get a flu shot each season. In particular, people who are at high risk of complications from the flu should receive the vaccine. These include young children, the elderly, residents of nursing home and other long-term care facilities, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, and liver or kidney disorders.
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Flu Testing And Diagnosis
Influenza is a viral respiratory illness that affectsmillions of people each year.
Symptoms can include fever, cough, stuffy or runny nose, sorethroat, headache, chills and fatigue. A flu test is not always neededto diagnose the flu. However, in some cases, your health careprovider may need to confirm if you have the flu, so they mayrecommend testing.
When To Get Tested
When it is flu season and a healthcare practitioner wants to determine whether your symptoms are due to seasonal influenza A or B or to another cause within 3 to 4 days of the onset of signs and symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, weakness, fatigue, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose and sometimes runny nose
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Can I Have Flu And Covid
Yes. It is possible to have flu as well as other respiratory illnesses including COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.
Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu, COVID-19, or another respiratory infection.
Can I Still Get The Flu If I’ve Had The Vaccine
Yes, it is possible to get the flu after being vaccinated since no vaccine is 100% effective. However, if you get the flu after being vaccinated, it is usually a milder illness with a quicker recovery. It also takes a few weeks after vaccination before antibodies are made to the vaccine that can provide protection. Occasionally, a new strain circulates that is not in the current vaccine, so you would not be protected against infection with that strain of the virus.
Are There Different Types Of Flu Tests
In a lab setting, there are a few different ways to test for influenza. The most common test for flu is called a “rapid influenza diagnostic test” . These RIDTs detect the part of the virus that stimulates an immune response, known as an antigen, the CDC says. Another type of flu test, called a “rapid molecular assay” detects the actual genetic material of the flu virus. Both of these tests are termed “rapid” because they can provide results in 1015 minutes or 1520 minutes .
Even more accurate than RIDTs and rapid molecular assays are tests most often found in hospitals or public health laboratories . Those tests are known as: reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests, viral cultures, or immunofluorescence assays, the CDC says. These results also take a little longerup to several hours.
But as far as you’re concerned, all of those tests require the same thing from you: a nasal swab, where a provider swipes the inside of your nose or a throat swab, Cassandra Pierre, MD, MPH, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, tells Health. Even more specifically, some tests go further back in the nose, while the rapid test only goes right inside, Anjali Mahoney, MD, MPH, a family medicine specialist with Keck Medicine of USC, tells Health.