Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Helluva virus

I once told a young man he had a helluva virus. He pulled out a pen and small notebook and asked me to spell that for him. Well, the helluva virus is back, and I am spending far too much time trapped in tiny exam rooms with miserable patients intent on sharing the little bugger with me.

Here's the litany of troubles caused by HV, and words to the wise about what to do about it. It's possible that we are dealing with HV1 and HV2 here, but they both cause a helluvan illness:

Terrible sore throat
Tiny tickle that turns into a heckuva cough
Body aches
Show-stopping fatigue
Chest pressure and congestion
A feeling of shortness of breath

If you have it, you're probably not sitting at your computer reading this post. If you get it tomorrow because you share office space with one of the patients I saw today, don't go see your doctor. There's nothing we can do for you, except, perhaps, prescribe cough syrup with codeine so you can put a stop to the misery long enough to get some sleep. I'd be willing to do that over the phone in lieu of sharing air space with you.

Drink liquids. Don't take antihistamines, do take Mucinex (guafenisen). Take aspirin or Advil for the aching, fever, and sore throat. Don't go to work. If you get worse instead of better and cough or blow out horrible stuff a week or more into your HV infection, then let's talk antibiotics.

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