Influenza (Flu)

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While recently working a chair massage event, I had an experience with a client that is important for all massage therapists to be aware of. I was working an event in a student medical clinic. The clients were pre-booked for 15-minute chair massage sessions. I received a client and reviewed the intake form. Nothing looked out of the ordinary and the client had indicated that they were completely healthy and taking no medications. When I physically assessed the client, I noticed that they were sluggish to respond. The client had a droopy look to their eyes, with some redness and swelling. I also noticed that the skin around the nostrils was red and swollen. The client sniffed a few times in our pre-massage chat. I thought this client was definitely experiencing some sort of respiratory illness. As I began work, I discovered that the client was also at the clinic to be checked by a doctor AFTER our appointment as she stated that she had had muscle aches and a headache for the last couple of days. I stopped the massage, something I have never done before, apologized to the client and asked her to get checked out by the doctor first. If everything was clear, I promised I would squeeze her back in for an appointment to finish her massage. After the patient was seen by a doctor, the doctor informed me that the patient did indeed have a strain of the influenza virus. I’m glad I made a careful assessment and stopped the massage. Clients aren’t always completely forthcoming on the intake form. Valuable lesson learned that day!

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