June 3, 2009 -- Question: Can a doctor easily tell the difference between seasonal and swine flu?
Answer: The reality is that, based on clinical findings, based on your complaints, based on your vital signs -- there's going to be very little ability for a physician, whether in the emergency department or in the primary care setting, to tell the difference between seasonal influenza, which is the yearly influenza outbreaks, versus this novel H1N1 outbreak. The reality is that they all have the same general signs and symptoms: So fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, aches and pains.
The only potential clue is that this newer H1N1 outbreak seems to have a little bit more vomiting and diarrhea. But at the individual patient level, it will be very difficult to distinguish between seasonal flu and H1N1.