My new favourite acronym is ILI, which stands for Influenza-Like Illness, which everyone in the Greater Toronto Area seems to have contracted in the six days I’ve been off. Après le weekend, le déluge. Or so it would seem. There has been a wee panic here, egged on by the media, over the unfortunate death from H1N1 of an apparently previously well, athletic 13 year-old boy. Acme’s emerg saw 129 patients yesterday during day shift, and I swear every second patient had “Cough and Fever” or some variation as their presenting complaint, most of them brought in by mothers (and fathers) who were convinced that little Braden or Jasmine had the pig flu, and that we needed to Do Something.
Unfortunately Doing Something means approximately Doing Nothing, except the usual push-fluids-and-Tylenol-and-return-prn routine. We aren’t even swabbing — but that’s assuming little Braden or Jasmine even had symptoms more specific than a vague cough.
Flu vaccination clinics for the general population start in Toronto tomorrow. Acme Regional Health is not starting its employee vaccinations until next week. Occupational Health has given no explanation of this particular piece of stupidity — it probably has to do with the original timetable for the vaccine rollout, and Acme’s inflexible and nonresponsive management style as anything else — but health care workers were supposed to get the vaccine before the general population. Occ Health has helpfully suggested that we go to the public clinics.
Meanwhile your humble faithful correspondent has, yes, developed Influenza-Like symptoms which escalated rapidly yesterday at work from a ephemeral feeling of malaise to fever and myalgias by the end of shift. Ugly. I came home, took a gram of Tylenol, and slept twelve hours straight. And I still feel feel like crap this morning. You think this counts as my flu shot?
[UPDATE @ 1850] The wee panic has turned into a tsunami. A call to a colleague revealed Acme’s ED saw 112 patients overnight. Sick Kids saw double the normal in its Emerg, and Mt. Sinai across University Avenue has confirmed an outbreak of H1N1.
Meanwhile in now there are five of us from our emerg out with Influenza-like illness. And feeling worse this evening after a brief daytime rally — had some bad rigours this afternoon.
I’m starting to feel a little apocalyptic. Which is the flu talking. I think.