Dental Clincs and the Flu

With all the media hype given to H1N1 (Swine Flu), I wanted to address how this may or may not impact your next dental visit. What are the symptoms of H1N1? Should you go to the dentist if you suspect you may have H1N1? What happens if your dentist has H1N1?

Here is the typically situation - you finally have an appointment with the dentist and day before you start to feel sick - you have the flu. You don't know if you have the common flu or the swine flu (H1N1), regardless you feel like poo. Call your dentist immediately and let them know of your symptoms.

Typically, each dentists will wear a mask to protect both themselves and the patient. Your dentist might be comfortable working on your teeth regardless of the flu as long as your comfortable.

Although the mask will prevent the spread of germs, the CDC recommends staying at home if you have flu like symptoms. This is to help prevent the spread to others - not just your dentist. If you are in the waiting room and cough, touch magazines, etc., you may very well spread your illness to other patients.

What are H1N1 symptoms? The following is taken from CDC (Center for Disease Control):

  • fever *
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

*A fever does not always accompany the flu

Who is at risk? Everyone! A majority of the people who get H1N1 will be fine, however people with other conditions are considered higher risk. The following is a list of conditions considered high risk:

  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Blood disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy

NOTE: information above was gathered from the CDC. You can visit the CDC's web site for more details

If you suspect the flu, contact your dentist and please consider staying home if at all possible.


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