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Swine flu
Posted: 02 May 2009 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Emergency rooms flooded with hysterical, perfectly well, patients.

It seems that perfectly healthy people are flooding emergency rooms - some with their only worry being that they ate pork last week. Some just have sniffles or allergies. It’s endangering those who are truly sick that are going to the E.R. for real emergencies.

I’m not sure the behind the scenes workings here - maybe Asanta or Macgyver could help me to understand. If someone walks in and is obviously not sick, the triage nurse finds no fever, no cough, or that someone came in complaining of just eating pork, can they be sent home or is the hospital obligated to have a doctor examine them for liability reasons?

I would have a huge sign at the door that said “Here for Swine Flu? No fever, no cough, no service.” OK joking, but at least a big sign printed up with F.A.Q.‘s on H1N1. Such as in big letters “YOU CANNOT CATCH THE FLU FROM EATING PORK PRODUCTS.” That might save a lot of trouble.

Although the media is doing a good job of scaring people to death on this, I place a tiny bit of the blame on the individuals. If you’re unsure of something, how hard is it to Google “CDC” for accurate info? If you don’t have a computer, call the local health department to ask the question. I’m sure most have a pre-recorded message with facts about the flu at this time. The number is in the blue pages in every phone book.

Failing that, how difficult is it to call your family practitioner and ask a question before freaking out and going to the E.R.? I call the pediatrician and ask to speak with the nurse at least twice a year for various illness. Usually I say “here are his symptoms, do I need to bring him in? Most of the time she says “No, sounds like a bug we’ve been seeing all week. Nothing you can do for it, keep him rested and hydrated, and give him children’s Motrin for the fever.” Couple of weeks ago it was Fifth’s Disease going around. Saved me a trip to the doctor, an 20 minute wait in a waiting room of sneezing kids, and a $40 co-pay by calling ahead of time.

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Posted: 02 May 2009 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Jules, only a physician or a nurse practitioner or physician assistant under the direct supervision of a physician can discharge a patient from the ER once they have come in. While I see your point and share your concern, for obvious reasons you wouldn’t want someone with less training to make a decision like that. There are many serious medical conditions that a person may come to an ER for which might seem very quite benign to the untrained eye.

You would be surprised how many people go to the ER without ever calling their doctor. I can understand it when the person has chest pain and time is of the essence, but its not uncommon for people to show up there with minor issues even when they have easy access to their doctor. We have a policy of always seeing patients the same day if they have an acute illness ( even minor things like a cold). When my office is closed the answering machine gives the patient my personal cell phone number so they can easily get in touch with me. Despite this at least one patient of mine ends up in the ER every weekend with something that could have easily been handled over the phone. Given how inconvenient it is to go to the ER you would think people would do everything possible before making that trip but obviously some people don’t think that way.

I don’t know what the solution is, but maybe the only way to discourage this is to make the patient responsible for a much bigger portion of the bill if they go to the ER for something silly. On the other hand I wouldn’t want someone who was having a heart attack to sit at home because it might be indigestion and they don’t want to get socked with the bill.

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Posted: 02 May 2009 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I don’t remember if people were as panicked during the swine flu outbreak of the 70s.

This little one doesn’t appear to be fazed.

912200851145AMbaby64.jpeg

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Posted: 02 May 2009 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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macgyver - 02 May 2009 02:23 PM

Jules, only a physician or a nurse practitioner or physician assistant under the direct supervision of a physician can discharge a patient from the ER once they have come in. While I see your point and share your concern, for obvious reasons you wouldn’t want someone with less training to make a decision like that. There are many serious medical conditions that a person may come to an ER for which might seem very quite benign to the untrained eye.

You would be surprised how many people go to the ER without ever calling their doctor. I can understand it when the person has chest pain and time is of the essence, but its not uncommon for people to show up there with minor issues even when they have easy access to their doctor. We have a policy of always seeing patients the same day if they have an acute illness ( even minor things like a cold). When my office is closed the answering machine gives the patient my personal cell phone number so they can easily get in touch with me. Despite this at least one patient of mine ends up in the ER every weekend with something that could have easily been handled over the phone. Given how inconvenient it is to go to the ER you would think people would do everything possible before making that trip but obviously some people don’t think that way.

I don’t know what the solution is, but maybe the only way to discourage this is to make the patient responsible for a much bigger portion of the bill if they go to the ER for something silly. On the other hand I wouldn’t want someone who was having a heart attack to sit at home because it might be indigestion and they don’t want to get socked with the bill.

Yes, I understand your point. What if they were dismissed but had a serious underlying condition that mimicked similar symptoms. That would be a tragedy. I see that some of the ERs had tents set up outside to alleviate some of the crowding due to the H1N1 scare. Perhaps they call an extra physician or two in to handle all the suspected swine flu patients in a separate area, leaving the regular ER physicians to handle the heart attacks and accident victims, etc.? I’m sure they are doing all they can. I just feel bad for the ER staff as well as the patients in there for true emergencies.

Like you, I cannot understand why anyone would want to go to the ER! I avoid it at all costs unless it is a terrible emergency, such as a bad car accident or on doctor’s orders. I wonder if some people just aren’t aware that in most cases they should call their doctor first?

I would think those immediate care ‘walk in clinics’ take some of the burden off the ER, do they? Or are they mostly for people without a primary care physician? I have only used one when I was out of state and cut my finger badly. It was fairly quick and convenient, a few stitches and off I went. I wonder if those clinics are overflowing with people afraid of swine flu, like the ER?

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Posted: 05 May 2009 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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I found this through Science-Based Medicine blog that I sometimes visit:

Posted on Planet Chiropractic (www.planetc1.com), written by Lancaster & Palmdale Chiropractic office of Dr. Suzanne Frye:

[...]

How can I protect myself from swine flu? Build your immune system! Get adjusted! Studies show that being adjusted twice a week can increase your immune system function by up to 400%.

[...]

mad

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Posted: 05 May 2009 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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George - 05 May 2009 01:45 PM

I found this through Science-Based Medicine blog that I sometimes visit:

Posted on Planet Chiropractic (www.planetc1.com), written by Lancaster & Palmdale Chiropractic office of Dr. Suzanne Frye:

[...]

How can I protect myself from swine flu? Build your immune system! Get adjusted! Studies show that being adjusted twice a week can increase your immune system function by up to 400%.

[...]

mad

What rank absurdity. What would it even mean to “increase your immune system function by up to 400%?”

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Posted: 05 May 2009 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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No idea…

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Posted: 05 May 2009 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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According to Dannon, their ‘immune system boosting’ yogurt will do the same thing. (I’ve noticed their advertising for this product has increased dramatically this week, especially on children’s TV channels. Marketing to worried moms, no doubt.)

I wonder, if you eat Dannon yogurt AND get your neck snapped around, will you be TWICE as protected?  LOL

I’m irritated with Walgreens, as well. They have these aisle end cap displays now that say “STOCK UP ON SWINE FLU SUPPLIES!” and have hand sanitizer, face masks, rubber gloves, and other hysteria related items. I’m calling it the “Panic Display.”

My kid is home sick today with a 100º fever. When I called the school to let them know he would be absent, the secretary wanted to know if I was taking him to the emergency room. I said “No, but I gave him children’s Motrin.” Fever and congestion…. hmmmm… seems like a cold to me. Obviously if he starts burning up or develops respiratory distress of some sort I’ll make a call to his pediatrician and have him seen. But I hardly think a cold warrants panic. In fact, it’s been a rather nice day for both of us. I got to stay home from work. We had pajama day. We watched a kid’s movie and then built a big alligator out of Lego bricks.

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Posted: 05 May 2009 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Jules - 05 May 2009 02:21 PM

According to Dannon, their ‘immune system boosting’ yogurt will do the same thing. (I’ve noticed their advertising for this product has increased dramatically this week, especially on children’s TV channels. Marketing to worried moms, no doubt.)

I wonder, if you eat Dannon yogurt AND get your neck snapped around, will you be TWICE as protected?  LOL

Yes, Dannon should be particularly ashamed, since they are a global corporation and perforce will know better.

Quackcast did a show about this “immune boosting” nonsense awhile back; it’s #22 HERE.

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Posted: 05 May 2009 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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The only thing that gets a boost is the corporation LOL

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Posted: 05 May 2009 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Even the flu won’t warrant a visit to the ED( where you will expose everyone who has not yet had it) unless you are very ill. Going anywhere when you are ill and contagious, unless necessary, is common courtesy, and will go a long way to contain the virus. I can’t understand why people think every illness should be a cause to run to the doctor to spread the ‘love’ around!

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Posted: 05 May 2009 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Geez, I’ve been making and eating yogurt for over 50 years.  I guess I’m immune to everything.  Does that mean I was wasting my time getting flu shots each fall for the last 20 or so years? LOL

Occam

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Posted: 05 May 2009 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Occam - 05 May 2009 03:08 PM

Geez, I’ve been making and eating yogurt for over 50 years.  I guess I’m immune to everything.  Does that mean I was wasting my time getting flu shots each fall for the last 20 or so years? LOL

Occam

Now if you get the chiropractic in addition to eating the yogurt, you’re sure to live to be 200 years old Occam.  grin

asanta - 05 May 2009 03:05 PM

Even the flu won’t warrant a visit to the ED( where you will expose everyone who has not yet had it) unless you are very ill. Going anywhere when you are ill and contagious, unless necessary, is common courtesy, and will go a long way to contain the virus. I can’t understand why people think every illness should be a cause to run to the doctor to spread the ‘love’ around!

Another of the many reasons I prefer to just make a phone call to the doctor’s office, instead of a visit!

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Posted: 05 May 2009 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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We mentioned germicides earlier, and I thought I’d give small hint:  If you’ve used bleach and got some of it on your hands, you may notice that the odor remains for a while, even if you wash your hands thoroughly.  If you want to get rid of the bleach smell, pour a small amount of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol in you hands and rub them together.  The sodium hypochlorite reacts to reduce itself to salt and converts a tiny bit of the alcohol to acetone which isn’t even noticeable and evaporates instantly. 

Occam

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Posted: 05 May 2009 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I love “Science with Occam!” You should publish a little book of handy household tips chemistry tips.

I remember the tip you gave on those little crystals that absorb moisture in closets, etc. You can put them in the oven on a cookie sheet to dry out and then reuse them. Now you have a handy tip for that bleach smell, which you are right it stays on the hands for a long time!

I bet you also have some awesome tip for removing laundry stains and taking the rust off of old tools.  LOL

If you ever want to put together an ebook, I do a little desktop publishing.  wink

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