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Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,379
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Hearing the great news that the flu shots we all took for this winter may not cover the strain that is out now, I am concerned for my elderly mother. I'm wondering how exactly the flu spreads and how easy is it to get it from someone else? I have to take my mother to the doctor in January and am afraid she could possibly get it from someone in the waiting room. At her age it could be very serious. Any info someone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,193
Registered: ‎05-30-2010

The MD office is a great way to catch colds & the flu. Waiting rooms R packed full of people. Horrible! Hate MD's waiting rooms.

Wash hands frequently and find out when the least busy time is to see the MD.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,896
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Limit exposure to the germs by avoiding groups of people, and if that is not possible, wash hands, wash hands, wash hands. I would ask your mother to wear a mask BEFORE or soon after arriving at the doctor's office. I know it might look weird, but I would also wear gloves in case she touches any common areas. Try to go to the bathroom before the doctor's appointment so you don't have to use a public restroom and things like that. Your mother needs to be very diligent about getting enough rest and drink lots of liquids. Many older people are borderline dehydrated to begin with, so the fluid intake is very important.

While there I would also ask your doctor if he would advise your mother taking antiviral medicines like Tamiflu if she does display any symptoms. These are prescribed by your doctor, so he would be informed of any problems she may be experiencing.

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” St.Teresa of Calcutta
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,217
Registered: ‎12-05-2012

This may sound crazy...but I know someone who had their parent wait in the car or lobby area until their turn came. She (the daughter) waited in the waiting room and opened all the doors so her parent did not have to touch anything. The doctor's staff totally understood and thought it was a good idea.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,539
Registered: ‎11-23-2013
On 12/17/2014 wonderfulworld said:

This may sound crazy...but I know someone who had their parent wait in the car or lobby area until their turn came. She (the daughter) waited in the waiting room and opened all the doors so her parent did not have to touch anything. The doctor's staff totally understood and thought it was a good idea.

I love this!!!!! Tell your friend she is awesome.

OP, frequent handwashing is a great way to reduce contamination.

Get your flu shot...because I didn't.
Super Contributor
Posts: 408
Registered: ‎11-26-2014

Your concerns are very valid. ( I tested positive for the flu by my physician, and was very upset since I had gotten the flu shot).

I agree that a doctor's office is a petri dish of flu germs during flu season. Is there anyway you can post-pone your mother's visit until the end of Feb/March when the flu typically runs its course? If not, make sure she washes her hands, and try and make the very first or second app't available in the early morning. That way you will avoid being a waiting room with coughing patients.

You can also let the staff know about your concerns, and they may be able to bring her right back to a waiting room so she is not exposed to germs so easily. Make sure your mother understands that hands have to be washed for a good thirty seconds, not just a quick wash.

Unfortunately, coughing spreads the flu fast, and that can't always be avoided.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,060
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

It is very worrisome. Wash your hands after every trip out to the store, etc. I teach preschool so my hands are already almost bleeding from the amount of times that I wash them!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,379
Registered: ‎03-16-2010
Thanks to everyone for their advice. Unfortunately my mother has several health issues and can't wait until the end of February or March to see the doctor.You can't believe how long we are at the doctor, for 2 or 3 hours a lot of times. You sit in the waiting room with people sneezing and coughing. If you weren't't sick when you got there you just might be when you leave!
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,579
Registered: ‎03-14-2010

Do you have a longer neck scarf that she can wear? She could wrap it around then pull it over her mouth and nose while in the waiting room. And maybe some thin gloves. She shouldn't touch door handles, elevator buttons, and magazines give me the willies. My doctor's office supplies face masks at the check in counter for those who are sick.

I caught some bug after Thanksgiving. Not sure if it was the flu or a really bad cold. But it kept me hunkered down for a week. Not sure where I caught it, probably when out shopping for turkey day food. And I'm very diligent about washing my hands.

Super Contributor
Posts: 1,050
Registered: ‎11-13-2014
She should wear a surgical mask to cover her nose and mouth when in the waiting room.