Monday, November 16, 2009

Swine flu - get tested?

Suppose you think that your kids or you have H1N1, the swine flu. They (or you) have some of these symptoms (which are for the flu):

•fever *
•sore throat
•runny or stuffy nose
•body aches
•sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
(Symptoms from

You think you might have swine flu; after all, you've been hearing about it for months. You need to go to work. If the kids have swine flu, you are supposed to keep them home for 10-14 days. How can you afford to miss work for two weeks?

Where do you take them (or go yourself) to find out if they or you have the swine flu?

Well, for all practical purposes, nowhere. Nowhere? That's right; nowhere.

So how do you find out?

There are three places to get tested for swine flu:

1. Go to a CDC control site (there is none in McHenry County, Ill.);
2. Be hospitalized. That's right; be IN the hospital; or
3. Be dead. In that case, you'll get tested, but it will no longer matter to you.

Here we are, facing a pandemic or already in one, and there is no generally-available testing?

I thought, if I had the symptoms, I could go to my doctor's office and he would take a blood sample, send it off to a lab, and tell me the next day if I needed to stay home for ten days. I wonder how many others realized before today that, for all practical purposes, you cannot get tested for swine flu!

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