Flu with no fever???
December 23, 2007 12:02 PM   Subscribe

You're not my doctor, but please help diagnose me! I have what seems like it might be influenza, without a fever-aching joints, extreme fatigue, chills, no running nose or other cold symptoms. It's Sunday, doc is closed, and I really would like to figure this out before Monday.

I work an hour away, in a fairly crucial job (managing folks doing public safety work)-so calling in sick on Christmas Eve is to be avoided if at all possible. My doctor is here where I live, not in the town an hour away where I work. I'm so exhausted and light headed that the idea of spending hours in urgent care makes me want to cry. Is it possible to have the flu without a fever? If not, any other thoughts of what I might have? I am trying to figure out how contagious I might be, so I can make a decision about work tomorrow.
posted by purenitrous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
go to urgent care. you're going to feel like crap whether you go or not--you might as well come out of the experience with some read medical advice.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:10 PM on December 23, 2007

Carbon monoxide poisoning?
posted by bricoleur at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2007

Are you really inany shape to be managing people while lightheaded and suffering like this? You risk making a crucial mistake if you can't think clearly, and that jeopardizes people's safety more than you calling in sick.

Go to urgent care or wait and see the doctor tomorrow morning. If your doctor gives you the all-clear, then go work in the afternoon. Or better yet, rest.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:19 PM on December 23, 2007

You've really only given us a list of what symptoms you don't have, other than the very generic exhaustion, so even if Metafilter was an internet doctor, we wouldn't be able to help. I'm guessing you meant to list some symptoms you do have, so you might be kind of out of it to be leaving out essential information. You probably won't be doing such a great job in public safety, nor would it be a great idea for you to be driving for an hour and endangering other people (assuming you're not on public transportation) If you can afford urgent care, why not call up a friend to come with you?
posted by fermezporte at 12:20 PM on December 23, 2007

I think the "aching joints, extreme fatigue, chills" is the list of symptoms that purenitrous does have.

IANAD but that sounds like any of a squillion viruses to me. I think you should make the decision based on whether you're competent to do your job safely: is your fatigue or lightheadedness going to make it hard to make good decisions? Is it better for you to be there and not thinking clearly, or for you to not be there at all?
posted by hattifattener at 1:19 PM on December 23, 2007

I don't think it matters what it's called. If you feel that kind of fatigue, you probably shouldn't be managing public safety work.

I'm not a run-to-the-doctor type (I let the flu run its course) but if you're worried about it, get an appointment with your doctor or go to urgent care. But the name of the condition really isn't the determining factor when it comes to whether you go to work. (In my opinion.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 1:59 PM on December 23, 2007

What are you using to determine that you "don't have a fever"? Is it an ear thermometer? I ask because feeling chills and being light-headed are always, always how my body tells me I have a fever. Last time I had those symptoms, my ear thermometer told me I had no fever, and I found out that those thermometers are completely unreliable. A good old-fashioned oral thermometer confirmed what I already knew- I did have a fever.

I can see no point at all to going to a doctor (urgent care, whatever) since what you have sure sounds like a virus of some sort. No sense spreading it around. If you have to call in sick, so be it, everybody has to call in sick sometimes.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:30 PM on December 23, 2007

No actual health care person can answer, since you specifically posed it as "I'm not going to go to the doc, provide me medical advice that I will follow."
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:46 PM on December 23, 2007

I think at this point, you should consider that even if you knew what it was, you wouldn't be able to treat it without a prescription from your doctor since [most] OTC remedies treat symptoms, not cause. Basically, do what doctors usually tell you to do: get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, take aspirin as necessary.

As far as infectiousness goes... the first few days of illness are when you're most infectious. The virus (or what have you) is on the increase at that time and looking to spread out when it can. Only after your body beats it down into submission are you no longer infectious, but you'll continue to feel awful for a few more days as your body has to do damage control. Not all viruses operate this way but this is a common model for airborn pathogens.
posted by reebear at 3:15 PM on December 23, 2007

ethnomethodologist's comment reminds me that once I had an oral (cheap digital) thermometer that ran at least 2 degrees low.
posted by sgass at 3:40 PM on December 23, 2007

I guess I'll say that the "win" condition for you here is a disease that:
*is readily diagnosable over the internet with non-specific symptoms
*has an effective treatment that is OTC
*that treatment will have you fine by tomorrow

If you are too sick to successfully sit in a waiting room, you are probably too sick to perform a critical public safety function absent serious intervention. I'd say the same thing tomorrow.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:44 PM on December 23, 2007

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