Doctors help patients decode flu symptoms


Doctors are seeing twice as many flu patients as years past and are sharing tips on how to avoid getting it and how to treat it if you get sick.

Dr. Kent Erb has practiced family medicine in Sheridan for the past 28 years. Leslie Cosand brought her one-year-old daughter Caitlyn to see Dr. Erb Friday. A check-up with a sick child with a temperature can be challenging, but the diagnosis doesn't take long.

"Actually, it may have started as flu. Achy, irritable, cough, fever. Very likely started as flu-type illness, ear infection is a secondary result of that," Dr. Erb said.

The doctor was pulling double duty on Friday. His practice partner was out sick, as well, most likely with the flu.

Getting the flu shot this year may not prevent this more aggressive flu strain this year.

"I have had patients who had the flu vaccine test positive, so we are seeing that and I don't remember seeing that in the past," Dr. Erb said.

He's seeing twice as many flu patients this year than last. He is also prescribing medicine for extended family to head off any extended problems before they start.

"If you can get them on Tamiflu, you can like prevent them from getting the flu, so you are doing it as preventative in the other cases," Erb said.

"Thursday, the aches came on. Then a fever," said Justin Cox, the next patient to see Dr. Erb. "I haven't had the flu in a long time."

Many think the flu is only a stomach ailment, but it can actually be quite different.

"Influenza is upper respiratory, runny nose, headaches, cough, fever," Dr. Erb said.

The doctor says he actually ran out of test kits for flu Friday morning, but received an additional shipment in the afternoon. It's another example of how severe the problem is.