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Flu and extremely exhausted

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Hello, I have an anxiety disorder (GAD) and recently I have come down with a bad strain of something. It feels like influenza, but I got a swab test for the flu yesterday and it came back negative. It began with a sore throat that faded in two days, which is when the stuffy/runny nose and dry coughs came in (I still have them). My mucous has been clear (except for two very spaced out incidences where it was yellow). The congestion has been gradually lessening and mucous has been becoming gradually easier to expel. However, what has worried me most about the entire illness is that in spite of the mild symptoms, it has been making me feel EXTREMELY exhausted to the point everything is kind of dreamlike and foggy. It's also given me muscle fatigue in the legs and arms, which is unlike any cold or flu I've ever gotten before. Fortunately, however, I have had absolutely no fever since the December 23rd (when I began coming down with the symptoms).

But this is where the anxiety comes in. Six months ago (in June), I was bitten on the toe by a raccoon that was wandering about in the daytime, but the sensation was dull (and not sharp as you'd expect from teeth or claws) which made me believe that the raccoon "whiffed" the bite. I promptly studied the area seconds after I was bitten and found no visible bite marks, no drawn blood or even redness. When I got home, I immediately doused the area in rubbing alcohol to check for cuts that were perhaps too small to see, but there were no burning sensations from the alcohol which led me to believe that there was no broken skin (afterward I used soap and water to cleanse the area). I even visited a doctor about this, who observed the area and said that since there were no bite marks, there was no reason to worry about rabies and that getting a booster was unnecessary. I usually would not be worried about a common cold or a strain of the flu, but the way this virus has been affecting me has been so unusual and has left me feeling so devoid of energy that I can't help but wonder if the clinical affects of the rabies setting in or if I'm just having a very strange flu bug that's been making me feel rather depressed. I've also been experiencing trembling and what feels like slight muscle tension near my wrists, but I think that may have more to do with anxiety than anything else.

The bottom line is, is it possible to have a "new" strain of flu even with the flu test having come back negative? If not, can common colds be this severe? If I wanted to get a blood test to see if there were antibodies in my bloodstream being deployed against rabies (therefore verifying that rabies is in my body), would that actually show up and would such a bloodtest be effective at this point?

I am sorry for being anxious. I really wish I had better control over it! Thank you.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
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Hello,

Thank you for your consult at DoctorSpring.com.

Yes, your symptoms are suggestive of common flu caused by various strains of the virus influenza. Yearly flu shot taken every year also does not provide protection against each and every episode of flu, as the strains causing infection keep changing.

Severity of symptoms of flu also vary depending upon the strains causing infection and your general health. Common manifestations of flu are tiredness, cough, fever and body aches. These symptoms are severe when compared to an episode of common cold.

Testing for rabies can be done with the help of a test called immunofluoroscence using the skin over the neck, saliva and spinal fluid. Examination of spinal fluid for infection can also be done. But without no evident symptoms of rabies, testing is of no value.

Common manifestations of rabies include anxiety, strange sensation at the site of the bite, tingling, numbness in the body, convulsions, drooling etc.

Here are my recommendations:
1. Take enough rest and plenty of warm fluids like soups, tea for easy breathing.
2. You can also use humidifier for breathing easy. Antiinflammatory drugs like ibuprofen 400mg thrice daily for a couple of days can relieve body pains. If necessary you can use decongestants like sudafed thrice daily for three days.
3.Continue your treatment for anxiety.
4. Stay relaxed, get adequate rest for a speedy recovery.
If your symptoms still bother you, should consult your GP for reassurance on this.

Hope this helps.
Please feel free to ask follow-up queries.
Thank you.


Patient replied :

Hello Doctor. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I am trying to control my anxiety enough so that it doesn't reach a point where my brain begins creating "ghost symptoms." I've done significant research after I was bitten on rabies on the internet, but I think it would be far more reliable to hear from a certified doctor as opposed to online sources.

I read that the incubation period for the rabies virus could be anywhere from one month to a year. Is this accurate? Assuming one was bitten in the foot, would the incubation period be leaning towards the latter since it takes longer for the virus to travel to the brain, or is that too long a time to be reasonable? And how many days beginning from when clinical symptoms begin to show can usually be expected to pass until things become very serious? I have also read that rabies--if not transmitted immediately into the body--has an extremely short lifespan and is very promptly killed by air or ultraviolet rays (the sun).

The symptoms of the potential flu strain still seem to be slowly fading. The stiffness in my limbs has certainly started to decrease although the overall fatigue/brainfog is still there, but there has been no numbness or lack of feeling in my body to speak of. I don't think I have any difficulty swallowing, either, as I can drink water without issues and eat (as much as my appetite will allow). Starting last night, I have had very mild leakage of saliva from the corner of my lips, which may just have to do with the large amounts of drainage that has been accompanying this strain. Part of me wants to stick with the belief that if this were rabies, the symptoms would be far more acute and alarming. Still, I am probably going to be paying a visit to my GP sometime in the near future, since I have yet to get my flu shot and that really needs to get taken care of.

Nyquil has been helping considerably with me getting adequate sleep at night, although it also makes it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the mornings.

Thanks again for your time and answers...


Hello,


There is nothing suggestive of diagnosis of Rabies. The symptoms are not all specific or suggestive of Rabies.
Yes Rabies incubation can be upto 12 months. Even 18months it has been reported. However do note that these are exceptions. Typical incubation period is 1-3 months.

It true that the virus may take more time to travel to the central nervous system from the legs (As the virus travels via nerves). However this will not influence the incubation period (Incubation period is NOT the time taken by the virus to reach the CNS).

The early flue like symptoms last few days and not more than a week in case of Rabies. And it will have downhill progression. (new and more symptoms). Putting all these together you are mostly infected with a flu virus. It might be difficult to identify the virus. You can give it some more time for self resolution.

You should discuss your concern of Rabies with your Doctor and decide whether any tests are necessary.

Hope this helps
Thank you


Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
Experience: 
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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