A marked increase in flu cases is reported by Infection Control Preventionist Denise Pratz, RN, at Lake Granbury Medical Center (LGMC).
“Just last week in LGMC’s Emergency Department there were 75 cases with flu-like symptoms – and 12 of them tested positive for flu. Two were admitted,” she said.
Influenza (or flu) is a highly contagious viral respiratory tract infection.
It is generally passed from person to person by droplet transmission, such as sneezing or coughing.
The virus can live up to 48 hours on objects such as doorknobs, pens, pencils, keyboards, telephone receivers, and eating or drinking utensils.
Therefore, avoid touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes unless you have washed your hands.
Symptoms of the flu
The following are the most common symptoms of the flu:
Runny or stuffy nose.
Severe aches and pains.
Sometimes a sore throat.
Get vaccinated – January is not too late. Those who received the flu shot in the fall are protected through the flu season, which can last until May.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of 6 months to receive the flu shot, including people who live with or care for the sick.
Following these precautions may also be helpful:
When possible, avoid or limit contact with infected people.
Frequent hand washing may reduce the risk of infection.
A person who is coughing or sneezing should cover his or her nose and mouth with a tissue to limit spread of the virus.
Complications of the flu
The flu causes complications that may develop into a more serious disease or become dangerous to some groups, such as pregnant women, children under the age of 5 – and especially under the age of 2 – those 65 and older and anyone with chronic medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease).
Complications may include:
Worsening of chronic medical conditions.
CAN I STILL GET THE FLU?
Every year, the flu shot “cocktail” changes to combat the current strains of influenza affecting the population.
The World Health Organization monitors flu outbreaks worldwide and recommends appropriate vaccine compositions to be used for the next year.
“However, sometimes a strain may appear that was not included in the flu vaccine,” Pratz noted.
SHOT GIVE YOU THE FLU?
Some have questioned if it’s possible to get the flu – even after getting the shot.
“If people who have had the flu shot contract the flu, they tend to have milder symptoms,” said Pratz.
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