Flu Update 2018

Also Read: You Have the Flu…Now What?!
When to Worry and What to Do!

Unless you live under a rock, you already know the flu is severe this year. It is rampant in almost every state reaching epidemic status this week, has killed dozens of people, including healthy children and adults, and is highly contagious and difficult to control.

I’m not a worrier, but influenza has me worried this year. On top of the flu, we are dealing with the stomach bug, strep throat, bad colds and a multitude of unidentifiable viruses sending people crawling toward their beds. It isn’t just at the clinic. Almost everyone I talk to, everywhere, is down with something. This makes me nervous because it means it is then easy to miss the flu, and early detection is the only way to minimize symptoms and prevent the spread.

Here are a couple of reminders:

If you got the flu shot, you can still get the flu. There are many strains, and only some are represented in the flu vaccine. The H3N2 strain that is making its way around the country does not seem to be effected by the vaccine.

The vaccine is still important because it will limit your chance of getting sick, and the more people in a community who are vaccinated, the more contained the spread. If you get the flu and have had the flu shot, your symptoms may be less severe and your risk of flu-related complications is less. You can still get the vaccine, but it takes about two weeks to kick in. Experts are saying the flu may stick around until May.

Early symptoms of the flu are extreme fatigue, body aches and a cough. As it progresses, the cough may worsen, a patient may start to wheeze, fever will develop and other symptoms such as a sore throat will develop. Some people will have nausea and vomiting.

People usually develop flu symptoms in about 2 days after exposure (1-4 days total) and are contagious one day before onset of symptoms and for 5-7 days after.

Tamiflu is an antiviral prescription medication which can minimize flu symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. It works when taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. This is important. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE FLU, see your doctor who can evaluate you and get an ANTIVIRAL ON BOARD. If you have been exposed to the flu, Tamiflu can help prevent you from becoming sick.

Your doctor can diagnose the flu based on symptoms or history of exposure, but there is also a rapid flu test, done much like a strep test, but usually by swabbing the inside of the nose.

To prevent infection with influenza:
• Wash your hands and do not touch your face.
• Stay away from people who are sick
• Maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise, stay hydrated and get outdoors every day.

Do NOT go near older people, infants or people who are immunocompromised if you think you have been exposed to the flu. It is in these populations, the flu can go from a bad illness to a severe one very quickly.

Check out the video below for some helpful tips on avoiding illness this season.

 


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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life, Heather is chauffeur to 3 busy kids; the president of her Home and School Association; and VP of Marketing for TipsFromTown. And she's passionate about all 3!

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