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This is getting ridiculous - we're on our second diagnosis of SF.

(25 Posts)
pofacedandproud Thu 29-Oct-09 11:48:48

Had a diagnosis when we were all ill in the summer. I was sceptical, got a private swab done, came back negative. We hadn't taken the Tamiflu prescribed as children got better quickly.
Yesterday both children had very high temps. Both very unwell. Went to docs, she said she was 100% sure it was SF. prescribed Tamiflu [our second prescription for it] I thought I'd wait and see how they were today. They have no temps today. It seems every time they get a temperature we are told it is SF. How many others are getting false diagnosis? I have a feeling SF is more severe but rarer than thought. Anyone else have this problem?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 29-Oct-09 11:53:41

Hi, I think WMMC has been in same boat? I dunno, mine a permanently ill so have given up going to GP. Youngest off today with mild high temp, cough, lots of green snot but not bothering with GP as I know what they'll say.

I hope the asthma situation isn't too worrying in the circs? How did you get the private swab done btw?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 29-Oct-09 11:53:58

are not a

pofacedandproud Thu 29-Oct-09 11:59:12

The doc was sweet, she listened to my chest too and gave me antibiotics for bronchitis! Asthma much improved today, think I have been struggling with bronchitis. Private swab done with medichecks, looked online.

I am worried though about the way SF is being tracked. We are now added to the list of confirmed and recovered SF figures, presumably? So the figures must be terrible guesstimates? And maybe SF is much more severe than is being assumed, as many who are told they have SF don't have it at all?

pofacedandproud Thu 29-Oct-09 11:59:59

I would like to do another swab out of curiosity this time round, but too expensive at a hundred quid a pop.

Niecie Thu 29-Oct-09 12:04:17

I think I agree with you. My boys were ill a couple of weeks ago and DS1 had been ill a couple of weeks before that. Could have put it down to SF but decided not to go to the docs as it was manageable and they weren't that ill. Besides, Tamiflu is supposed to make you feel ill too so wasn't going to bother taking it. But the high temp, sore throats, cough and eventually cold symptoms are everywhere round here and I am sure some people think SF.

On the other hand my friend was really ill, high temp, delirious even, felt terrible, cough, sore throat, nausea you name it she had it. Spent 5 days in bed and still, 10 days later she is feeling under par. Typical case of flu imo. She was told (over the phone) she didn't have SF because she had a runny nose and you don't get that with SF.hmm

I don't think reporting can be very accurate now they aren't taking swabs.

I can't tell if it is really a very mild flu and everybody has indeed had it or whether, as you say it is much rare but more severe than first thought.

cakeywakey Thu 29-Oct-09 12:16:15

I think that this flu is a tricky one to diagnose because it seems to affect people very differently depending on their age and any existing conditions.

My husband was given tamiflu for suspected swine flu the week before last. He only had a high temperature for one day but differing symptoms over the week after diagnosis.

A friend we saw a few days before my husband became ill was also diagnosed with swine flu which then led to her developing pnuemonia, she's still in hospital.

My neighbour had it during the first wave and was in a great deal of pain becasue it made her arthritis flare up.

There doesn't seem to be a 'one size fits all' way that it manifests so, yes, there may well be some misdiagnoses. I'm sure that this must be factored into the overall calculations though.

Hope your children feel better soon.

pofacedandproud Thu 29-Oct-09 12:19:33

Children are fine today! That is what makes me so sceptical. I have a sore throat so will keep an eye on it. I am sure that SF is more severe but not as widespread [at moment] as claimed. Which worries me as I don't think it is as mild as claimed either. and if they don't swab they just don't know.

pipWereRabbit Thu 29-Oct-09 12:33:00

I've heard some statistics relating to the number of people who were prescribed tamiflu, and who were subsequently sent a DIY swab kit to test to see if they actually had swine flu. Of the people who returned the test between 5 and 10% actually had swine flu - and remember these are people who have been prescribed tamiflu and have been diagnosed with swine flu.

It might be reasonable to assume that up to 95% of people diagnosed with swine flu didn't actually have it first time round.

Sounds to me as though an awful lot of people could be facing swine flu, round two this winter.

pofacedandproud Thu 29-Oct-09 12:45:16

that's interesting pip. sad

iwouldgoouttonight Thu 29-Oct-09 12:46:02

Hope you're all feeling better soon. DP and DS were diagnosed with swine flu about two months ago (DP via the helpline, DS actually saw a doctor) at the time me and DD had coughs and colds but not a temperature and the doctor said we probably had it too but mildly and told me to take the week off work to prevent spreading it.

DP and DS took tamiflu and me and DD didn't.

Since then we haven't all been properly well, and just keep passing on various coughs and colds and sore throats around the family. Today DD has a slight temperature, has been sick, breathing a bit laboured and has a VERY runny nose. I've not taken her to the doctor because I'm worried they'll say its swine flu again, whereas I think its just a bad cold, and Calpol seems to be keeping it under control.

I agree I think SF is more serious than previously thought, but much more rare.

pipWereRabbit Thu 29-Oct-09 12:49:29

pofacedandproud, the figures were from a BBC Radio 4 statistics programme, everso interesting.

You can hear it here

pofacedandproud Thu 29-Oct-09 14:28:38

Thanks pip will have a listen.

thereluctantrobin Thu 29-Oct-09 17:09:29

The public health people know that the diagnosis of SF is very hit and miss now - this is from last week's HPA epidemiological update:

"Interpretation of data to produce estimates on the number of new cases continues to be subject to a considerable amount of uncertainty with the move to the National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS). HPA modelling gives an estimate of 53,000 (range 27,000 – 115,000) new cases in England in week 42. The estimated number of new cases has increased in all regions and age groups."

And this:

"The number of pandemic influenza (H1N1) 2009 cases is estimated using a statistical model. The model
relies on data from various surveillance systems and studies. The key surveillance systems that are used
consist of the primary care based Q Surveillance® scheme, the RCGP and HPA Regional Microbiology
Network sentinel surveillance scheme and latterly data from the NPFS. To provide an estimate of the number
of pandemic cases that present to their GP the estimated number of primary care attendances with influenza
like illness is multiplied by the positivity rates from testing within sentinel GP schemes. To estimate the
number of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 that present to NPFS, the number of NPFS antiviral collections are
multiplied by positivity rates from testing from people contacting NPFS. To provide an overall estimate of
number of cases in the population, these two estimates are combined and scaled up to allow for a range of
30% to 70% of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 cases contacting either NPFS or a GP."

(NPFS is the pandemic hotline/website). I assume that means that if they end up estimating that the H1N1 positivity rate from testing of people contacting NPFS was 10%, then they would divide the total number of Tamiflu prescriptions from the hotline by 10 to get a guess at the number of real H1N1 cases. Then they combine that with estimates based on extrapolating from the 'sentinel' GP practices that have always report their consultation rates and sent samples off for testing, all year round, for tracking seasonal flu.

I suppose eventually as they get more data they might tweak the criteria for Tamiflu so it can be targeted more accurately at real H1N1 cases.

It's going to be a bad winter to get more than one respiratory bug with a temperature .

Bathsheba Thu 29-Oct-09 18:02:24

I'm very fortunatel in that I was swabbed (I'm 28 weeks pg) and it was confirmed via swab, but it doesn;t surprise me that everything that isn;t a broken toe is being said to be SF.

I was very ill and couldn;t be admitted to hospital for my pneumonia because of swine flu hysteria, when actually I think vry few people actually have it.

pofacedandproud Thu 29-Oct-09 18:33:29

Gosh you poor thing Bathsheba. I agree with you that not so many have had it. Did you take Tamiflu? I am still not sure if dcs have SF, I have a terrible sore throat tonight and am just getting over horrific bronchitis, so wondering if I should try to get Tamiflu...

Bathsheba Thu 29-Oct-09 19:55:21

I got relenza as I'm pregnant and thats the prefered treatment for pregnant people.

Its a bit of a blessing in disguise - I'm in the fortunate position that I KNOW I've had it (and contagious as it is, so have my 2 DDs and my DH) no more being fobbed off with "Oh that sounds like swine flu" for every sniff, and also no debate as to whether to have the vaccine or not...

Elibean Thu 29-Oct-09 20:58:34

I think I agree too. that loads of people are diagnosed (including dd2) with it and don't have it. OTOH, I don' think its always more severe than we are led to believe - sometimes yes, obviously (and sadly), but I know of several people who had confirmed (swabbed) SF last summer and who really weren't very ill. Temps of around 38, achey, sore throats and headaches and a bit of a cough.

Guess they were the 'lucky' ones, but they did definitely have H1N1.

Expat posted a fair bit about the varying degrees of illness she and her family had with SF (swabbed) last summer, too....does seem to vary hugely. Which is what makes it so hard to make decisions about - we never know who will have mild, moderate or severe illness.

Hope your throat is better v soon, whatever it is!

justtheone Fri 30-Oct-09 00:31:09

Like lots of others, I'm also in a quandary about swine flu. DS had a bad cold at the end of September which resulted in a wheezy chest. He went back on daily inhalers which he has not had for 2 winters. Early this week he got another cold with lots of coughing and a high temperature. I rang the Swine Flu line and they prescribed Tamiflu. I decided to wait for 24 hours before collecting it. Now he has no temperature, coughs have subsided and the only evidence of a cold is a runny nose. His chest is also clear, which I attribute to being back on inhalers. So we are another case which has been prescribed Tamiflu but not used it.

The problem for me is the judgement call. If he had got worse and indeed had swine flu, was I being negligent in delaying 24 hours? But if I think the worst every time he has a cough then I'm not helping either him or me.

He was supposed to have his seasonal flu vaccine this afternoon but I cancelled it yesterday because of the temperature. When he is fully better I will ensure that he has both flu vaccines and just hope we can get through the winter without too much panic.

pofacedandproud Fri 30-Oct-09 10:54:11

What do people think of this then? Dcs are still ok, [dd's temp went up overnight but ok again today and playing happily] but dh had a temp last night and felt grotty and has a cough . He says he feels ok today. I still have very sore throat. I never self medicate, but have Tamiflu from prescription from last time and wondering if I should take it preventatively seeing as I'm getting over bronchitis. But maybe that would be silly. It is so hard to know.

Niecie Fri 30-Oct-09 13:31:23

I wouldn't take it pofaced. If all you have is a sore throat then it probably isn't SF. If the rest of your family hasn't had it what are you preventing?

It is difficult though.

I think I agree with Elibean. I think it varys massively in severity and you can't tell just by listing symtoms whether you have it or not. As I said earlier, the numbers could be overstated by false diagnosis or understated for not having picked up all the minor cases in people who don't phone. Either way the numbers are boudn to be dodgy. I do suspect, however that if your symtoms only last 24 hours you probably don't have it.

I also suspect that as well as those who phone and get given Tamiflu at the drop of hat ther are also lots of people who don't phone up who are really ill too. They think that they have flu and they know that there isn't much that can be done other than stay away from people and get better. They might also be wary of taking something if they don't have a confirmed diagnosis which few people get now. I personally wouldn't bother phoning on the grounds I wouldn't want to have Tamiflu nor would I give it to my children. I would just ride it out so we wouldn't be included in the stats. But then we are lucky in that we have no underlying medical conditions which make it necessary. That would probably change my whole thinking on things if we did.

Pofaced - Hope your throat feels better soon. Have you tried gargling with soluble aspirin? It is supposed to help.

pofacedandproud Fri 30-Oct-09 14:00:38

Thanks Niecie. I'm not going to take it, but dh had temp last night, v rare, so did wonder. So bloody hard to know.

thereluctantrobin Fri 30-Oct-09 15:12:06

Niecie, people like you are included in the stats, because the statisticians are estimating only 30-70% of people contact either the helpline or a GP (which means they're assuming 30-70% of people with flu aren't doing so). Whether they've got that number right would be a separate question.

thereluctantrobin Fri 30-Oct-09 15:16:24

It is really difficult to know what to do - every time someone starts a cold in our house, I'm not really thinking "I hope it's not swine flu because then they'll be terribly ill", instead I'm thinking: "I hope they don't get a temperature too now, because then I'm going to have to decide whether or not to go through the whole Tamiflu rigmarole". I'm not even getting as far as worrying about whether we have H1N1 itself!

pofacedandproud Fri 30-Oct-09 17:38:12

well the children are bouncing around and my sore throat has gone so I cannot believe it was SF. The doc said she was absolutely sure that it was too. all very strange.

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