This letter to the editor appeared on The Holland Sentinel. Read more here.
With the flu and COVID-19 filling hospitals around the state, learning what types of medical care are available and knowing your symptoms can help you choose the right treatment and care.
If you are experiencing ear pain, sore throat, fever, mild to moderate cold, flu, or RSV symptoms then you should call your health care provider’s office. You should ask about your symptoms, their recommendations, and if you qualify for a virtual visit.
Make sure to call 911 or go to an emergency department immediately if you are experiencing life-threatening conditions, severe chest pain, pressure, or have difficulty breathing. If you have a child, these symptoms can look like pale or blueish skin color, breathing very fast, nasal flaring, retractions, and clammy skin.
While these symptoms can be severe and at times deadly, they are also preventable. Make sure not to miss routine physicals, well child visits, and immunizations. Although no vaccine completely prevents the risk of becoming ill, flu vaccinations prevent thousands of hospitalizations each year and drastically reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get sick. In recent years, the flu vaccines have reduced the risk of hospitalizations among adults by around 40%.
As Michigan and other states face the risk of a ‘tridemic’, make sure to understand what types of medical care is available before you need them. Having that knowledge is crucial for your health and can help you feel better faster and avoid serious complications.
Stay home when sick, unless you need medical care, and stay up-to-date with regular check-ups and appointments. It’s not too late to get your COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. If you have questions about these vaccines or others, make sure to seek out credible answers from sources such as IVaccinate.org.
Brian Wilder, DO, Family Medicine Physician, Corewell Health West, Greenville Family Medicine