Published 5/1/2009

Clinician alert on swine flu

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), clinicians should consider the possibility of swine influenza virus infections in patients presenting with febrile respiratory illness. Because one of the symptoms of swine flu is joint pain, orthopaedic surgeons should be alert to patients who present with arthralgia and one or more of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, and fatigue.

If you suspect swine flu, obtain a respiratory swab for swine influenza testing, place it in a refrigerator (not a freezer), and contact the state or local health department to facilitate transport and timely diagnosis at a state public health laboratory.

To keep from getting or passing along the flu, the CDC advises clinicians to take the following steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially between seeing patients or after you cough or sneeze.
  • Because viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces, wipe down tables, doorknobs, and desks between patients.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Stay in good general health: get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/swineflu