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How do I know if I have H1N1 flu?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

Most primary care offices now have rapid flu tests in their offices that can tell you if you test positive for type A or type B influenza. If indeed you test positive for type A, at this point in the United States, you most likely have H1N1.


The difficulty is that the rapid flu tests are very specific (meaning if it is positive, you definitely have the flu) but not too sensitive (meaning if you do have the flu, there is a good chance -- up to 30% -- that the test will not show it).


So, please understand that flu is primarily a clinical diagnosis. This means if you have high fever, intense headache, sore throat, cough, and body aches, and your doctor doesn't find evidence of any other disease (like strep throat or pneumonia), your doctor will likely conclude that you have influenza -- whether or not she has the proof of a positive rapid test.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.