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House call services making a comeback with severity of flu season in Colorado

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 00:42:44-05

DENVER -- How bad is the flu in Colorado this season? For starters, one local practice almost ran out of flu tests due to the volume of patients it was receiving. For all you germaphobes out there who worry that going to the doctor will expose you to the flu, house calls are making a comeback -- and you pay for them just like when going to the doctor.

Denver7 tagged along with Jaclyn Henkhaus, a nurse practitioner with DispatchHealth, an on-demand urgent care clinic with services available in Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Arizona.

For Henkhaus, no times has been busier. Over the last two months, almost half of her visits have been flu-related.

Chris Roth, a Stapleton resident, is her seventh patient of the day. 

He made an appointment with DispatchHealth, hoping to avoid the germs and flu patients overwhelming ERs and doctor's offices.

"I have three kids so they get sick, we get sick...pretty common."

After several days, he's at the tail end of the flu. Henkhaus said he's not considered high risk. And contrary to what people think, Tamiflu won’t be helpful at this stage.

"It’s most effective within the first 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms," said Henkhaus.

Another myth is that treating the flu with antibiotics works.

"It is a true virus so there isn't an antibiotic that you can take to get rid of it," said Henkhaus.

Good hygiene is a given to avoid flu, but what about the vaccine?

"Definitely pro-vaccine. I think they're definitely important," said Henkhaus. "If the strain comes through and it's the right coverage then you're not going to get the flu.”

If you're looking for additional resources to get help at any time of day, check out Children's Hospital Colorado, which has a pediatric nurse available 24/7 through the Free ParentSmart Healthline at 720-777-0123.