Ask an expert
Question

13 Aug 2007

flu - wrong diagnoses?
Dear Cyberdoc,

My 58-year old mother presented with the following symptoms:

Thursday evening: General body aches and pains, fatigue
Friday morning: felt better
Friday evening: low fever, joint pain, general body ache, fatigue. Right wrist and slightly upwards from the wrist towards the elbow especially are very sore, slightly swollen and warm to the touch
Saterday morning: extreme joint pain (especially of hands, feet, toes, knees)- unable to get out of bed without help; stiffness - general and specifically about the chest and back area. Hands swollen.

Went to hospital emergency room to see a doctor early Saterday morning.

They ran some blood tests, an ECG, and took a urine sample.

When the tests came back the Doctor said the following:
- heart function normal and healthy
- kidney function normal
- whole blood count normal
- there are signs of the body fighting off an infection (some count that should be 8 or below were above 70).

She was diagnosed with influenza and prescribed Tamiflu (5 day course), Coryx, and a strong pain killer for the joint pain (can't remember the name but it is a large yellow tablet)

Since seeing the doctor on Saturday morning, her joints have swollen up more than before - left leg especially are swollen up (from the knee halfway up towards the hip - legs are not swollen below the knee), her hands are also very swollen with fingers having a "sausage-like" appearance. Her joints are still severely sore and she is often unable to get up from a chair or the bed without help. She still experience chest and upper back stiffness/pain. She has also developed a "lacy" pinkish-red rash on her arms and legs - especially on the swollen areas but also beyond.

She seems to feel slightly better in the mornings, but by midday she seems to be feeling sicker and in the late afternoons / early evenings is feeling really bad. (Although since Saterday she has been resting as prescribed by the emergency room doctor).

Is this really the flu? It seems to rather be some kind of acute joint infection (but what do I know ;-) )?

O - and by the way - she hasn't visited a malaria region for over a year and is not aware of having been bitten by a tick. (We do have dogs and cats that come into the house but we haven't seen any ticks on them for a long time). Don't know if this is relevant - but we live in an old house and have been renovating for the past couple of months - breaking down walls, redoing ceilings, the plumbing etc.) She has been exposed to the dust etc. from this process 24 hours/day.
Answer 464 views
Expert
CyberDoc
cyberdoc

01 Jan 0001

Dear Y
She should rather see a physician - she may have an auto-immune reaction due to a viral illness and this can actually physically damage the joints permanently - please ask your GP to refer her to a physician immediately.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.