BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Local doctors want people to know just because you test negative for the flu doesn't mean you don't have it. Doctors are trying their best to keep this from spreading they are starting to treat people with the flu even if they test negative for the flu test. They say the test is not the most reliable and if you come in with the symptoms you more than likely have it.
Dr. Jeffery Allen with American Family Care says they are seeing record numbers for flu patients. "I have had patients that just think they have a cold. I feel a little bad I have a little cold I have patients they walk in they are curl up they brought a blanket from home they say I have never felt this bad in my entire life and the test is negative but the treatment is the same."
He says there are a lot of factors that play into the lab test. "There is a certain amount of antigen that needs to be present to turn the test positive and it is going to depend on how good of a sample it was how much viral shedding there was and at the same time it is going to be based on symptoms as well," he explains.
For patients that have all the flu like symptoms but test negative doctors say they still treat them for the flu. They are diagnosed with influenza like illness which is tracked and treated just like the flu. If you have the flu doctors say you need to be fever free for at least 24 hours before you are around other people.