Capt. Rupert Laco, 374th Medical Operations Squadron emergency services flight commander, administers a rapid flu test to a patient, Nov. 4, 2019, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. With flu season upon us and testing kits limited, Yokota’s hospitals will only be providing flu testing to patients considered to be at a higher risk of complication as a result of the flu. (U.S. Air Force photo by Machiko Arita)
Capt. Rupert Laco, 374th Medical Operations Squadron emergency services flight commander, administers a rapid flu test to a patient, Nov. 4, 2019, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. With flu season upon us and testing kits limited, Yokota’s hospitals will only be providing flu testing to patients considered to be at a higher risk of complication as a result of the flu. (U.S. Air Force photo by Machiko Arita)

Influenza Testing Announcement at Yokota

374th Medical Group

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Team Yokota, flu season is now upon us. Despite medicine’s best efforts, the flu vaccine is bound to fail for some people, and you or your family, friends, or co-workers may get the flu.

With that, we have an important announcement in regard to the diagnosis and treatment of the flu. The diagnosis of flu is based upon clinical symptoms and exam. The usefulness of lab testing is limited and only indicated in certain situations. Our hospital receives a very limited number of rapid flu testing kits every year. Therefore, we must restrict testing to those people who are at highest risk of suffering complications from having the flu to help guide treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends against treatment for influenza in most healthy adults and children. It turns out that for the vast majority of people, it’s safer and more cost effective to stay home, drink plenty of fluids, control fever with medication such as acetaminophen and rest until fully recovered.

To summarize:
• At Yokota’s Hospital, rapid flu testing will be restricted to people age 5 and under, 65 and older, and in children or adults with high risk medical problems

Signs and symptoms of the flu (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/index.html) :
• Typically symptoms start suddenly. People who have the flu may feel some or all of these symptoms:
o Fever (temperature of 100.4 or higher) - although not everyone will get a fever
o Widespread Muscle and/or body aches
o Headaches
o Stuffy nose
o Cough
o Sore throat
o Significant Fatigue (feeling tired)
o Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults

What to do if you think you have the flu (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm):
• Stay home and rest:
o Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can be used to reduce fever and relieve headaches, body aches
o Hydrate (avoid caffeinated beverages)
o Avoid public places
o Avoid returning to work or school until at least 24 hours have passed since your last fever
o Avoid sharing personal items (hand towels, drinks, etc)

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