Who should be tested for influenza?

The worst of flu season is November through February (at least in Boston) although it can be shorter or longer; flu should be considered in anyone presenting with a fever and cough or other viral symptoms during this time of year.

 

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image copyright: Working Nurse

Flu is a clinical diagnosis (see below) which means patients do NOT need a positive test result to get treated! If you think someone meets criteria for treatment, you can empirically give them antiviral medication. Plus, getting tested for flu is no fun: it’s a nasal swab, which has to go all the way back into the throat. However, as described below, certain kinds of patients should be tested.

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