• 61°

Protect yourself, others from flu

The flu is running rampant through the city and the country.

This week it prompted officials at DW McMillan to ask that patients utilize urgent care facilities and their doctors’ offices in an effort not to spread the germs to those who have legitimate emergencies.

Looking at the weekly map of influenza activity provided by the Centers for Disease Control, the flu is considered widespread in All U.S. states except Hawaii.

We’ve all heard these tips over and over again, but since the flu is spreading quickly and has even killed some, we feel it’s important to remind locals of these tips.

  • The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggest to be common.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins.
  • Those who are around those who are 6 months and younger should be vaccinated.

Take precautions to prevent the spread of germs.

  • Try to avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • While sick, stay away from others.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after fever has subsided.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hand with soap and water often.
  • Avoid touching mouth, eyes and nose.
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.

If you doctor prescribes flu antiviral drugs, take them.

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.

Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high-risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.

Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.