Thursday, December 10, 2009

One Flu Over the EMS

Y'ever notice how many things are described as having "flu-like symptoms"? lists 129 medications that can have flu-like side-effects, and (once I filtered out the duplicates and minor variations), 58 different maladies, including:
Bowel Bypass Syndrome
Cat Scratch Fever
Fire ant bite
Food poisoning
Hodgkin's Disease
Legionnaires' Disease
Lyme Disease
Metal Fume Fever
Sandfly Fever
Slap-Cheek Syndrome
Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome
Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis
So don't worry if you get swine or bird flu symptoms: it might be something totally different.

In any case, that's background for the following news story from the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS):
LOWELL, MA, Dec. 7 - Expect discussion by the City Council Tuesday night regarding a policy ... under [which] dispatchers have stopped sending firefighters to medical calls where flu might be present ... [Fire Chief Edward] Pitta said he does not want firefighters compromising their health by responding to 911 medical calls for flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath associated with flu, and sore chest associated with cough."
But what if it's Slap-Cheek Syndrome?