Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I have the flu. Why won’t my doctor test me for H1N1?

In many cases, it is unlikely that your doctor will test you for H1N1 flu. There are several reasons:

We are monitoring the progress of H1N1 in the state through a number of different data sources, rather than counting individual lab reports. Now that we know that there have been cases of H1N1 in every county in Maine, we no longer need to test every case.

Testing everyone with flu-like symptoms would overwhelm our laboratories, so we need to save those resources for those who are most severely ill, where a confirmed diagnosis might influence treatment.

Testing will usually not change either treatment or the steps you should take if you are sick. The treatments for both seasonal and H1N1 flu are the same.

If you are not in a group of people at high risk for complications and do not have severe symptoms, you may recover on your own.

If you are in a high risk group, your health care provider will know if you need to be tested for H1N1, based on current guidance from the US CDC.

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