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Swine Flu: How Sick Are You?

flu.jpgMicrosoft has unveiled a new online tool, developed by Emory University, to help you decide whether your flu-like symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor’s office.  This is a major issue for many people, as doctors’ visits can be frustrating circuses of waiting rooms, vague advice, and traveling from point A to point B when you feel sick and run-down.  Not to mention expensive.   Not to mention a great place to catch some other bug.


So in theory, this H1N1 Flu Self-Assessment questionnaire is a helpful tool that might help you rest easier as you rest up. 

I just took the quiz, though, concocting a make-believe (thank God) malaise to see where the quiz falls on my personal common sense-o-meter.  I told it that I don’t have a measurable fever, but I “feel feverish.”  I said I have a cough or sore throat, but no chest pain, shortness of breath, or vomiting.  I said I am dizzy when I stand up, and I’d only felt sick for less than 24 hours.

And here’s what it told me:  “Based on your answers, you probably have the flu and you might be very sick [underline theirs].  Call your doctor now!”


As much as I believe that serious symptoms should be taken seriously, to me this was way over the “alarmist” line.  My theoretical illness should be put to bed with a bowl of soup and a pile of blankets, not whipped up into an anxious frenzy and woozily driven to the doctor’s office!

Do you think swine flu reaction is too trigger-happy?  Or would you head for the doc’s with the symptoms I described above? 

To try the questionnaire, click here.    

For a gallery of swine flu prevention tips, click here.

(image via:

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  • Grady ER Nurse

    I agree with your accessment. The flu is usually self-limiting. You should only call/see your doctor if you have difficulty breathing, or you continue to get worse after a few days of rest, plenty of fluids, etc. Most people would be better off to stay home, rather than fill up the ER with minor flu symptoms.

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