flu It is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Families are now more paranoid than ever of germs. First there was Ebola.  Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn this year’s flu shot may not provide protection against the latest strain of the virus. So what do you do when your sick and don’t want to drag yourself or your family into the doc’s office to perhaps pick up more germs?  Many turn to telemedicine.  Right from bed, log in from your computer or lap top, skype the doc and point, click and cough! With local technology like MeMD, patients here talk to docs via webcam and in many cases docs prescribe medicine right then and there. No in- person appointment necessary.  MeMD webcam visits are for ailments like fever, respiratory and sinus infections, sore throats, bronchitis and flu and colds.

MeMD docs often have to tell the difference between a cold and a flu.

  • The Flu hits hard and fast. You run a fever above 101F, you’re flat out in bed with muscle aches and tightness of chest.
  • If it’s a Cold your symptoms are mostly above the neck – runny nose, cough, watery eyes, sore throat congestion and sneezing.  You may feel achy and run a slight fever.

MeMD docs often dispel the following flu myths:

  • Young, healthy people don’t need to worry about the flu – FALSE – The CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older get a flu shot.
  • You can catch the flu from a flu shot – FALSE – The flu vaccine is made with dead viral particles and since the virus is not living it can’t infect you.
  • You can stop the flu by washing your hands a lot – FALSE  –  Influenza is spread through the air from saliva droplets from a contagious person. You can also pick up the flu by touching contaminated surfaces- then touching your hand to your face.
  • Pregnant Women Can’t get a flu shot – FALSE – The flu shot is very safe for pregnant women.
  • If you get the flu, the shot didn’t work – FALSE –   This year most cases of flu so far are caused by a strain called H3N2 and the flu shot will only protect from about half these cases.  Still, the CDC says a flu shot is a success if it prevents hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Antibiotics can fight the flu – FALSE – Antibiotics don’t work on viruses like the flu.  You can take anti-viral meds like Tamiflu to cut the course of the disease by 1 – 2 days.