A new website launched by Microsoft Corp., called H1N1 Response Center, will help you determine whether you do, in fact, have the flu and whether you need to see a doctor or can safely treat yourself at home. Doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to urge patients with severe symptoms from the pandemic H1N1 influenza who also have underlying medical conditions to seek medical help, but they also worry that too many people visiting doctors and hospitals will overwhelm the system, limiting the care available for those most in need. The response center is a way to meet both goals.
The new site, meant for people over 12, uses a self-assessment tool licensed from Emory University. It will ask you your age and a series of questions about fevers, muscle aches and other symptoms, as well as your overall health, then give you an assessment. It might, for example, say that only bed rest and fluids are needed, or that you may be very sick and that you should call a doctor as soon as possible.
The CDC also posts a list of flu signs that should prompt a patient to seek medical care.
-- Thomas H. Maugh II