Navigation Links
Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself From the Flu
Date:1/10/2013

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- With the United States in the throes of one of the worst flu outbreaks in years, health-care experts say there are ways you can fight back and protect yourself from the virus.

And the best protection is a flu shot -- even now.

"People should ideally get the flu shot at the beginning of the flu season which really starts in October," said Dr. Robert Graham, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "So the sooner the better. But at the same time, whenever you can get the shot I strongly recommend it. It's the least painful way of combating the flu."

The good news is that this year's vaccine is an excellent match for the strains of influenza now circulating.

The not-so-great news is that the vaccine takes about two weeks to become fully effective in your body. And even people who have been vaccinated can contract the flu virus, though this is uncommon.

The predominant strain so far this year is H3N2, and doctors note that when H3N2 dominates, they tend to see more severe illness among children and the elderly.

For those who haven't yet had a flu shot -- and even for those who have -- there are other simple precautions people can and should take to minimize the chances of contracting what's turning out to be an especially infectious and unpleasant illness.

First and foremost is to wash your hands, said nurse Kristen Lawton, director of the emergency department at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

"If you can't use soap and water, use the hand soap in a pump or the alcohol-based preparation," she said.

Lawton said her emergency room has been seeing about 15 more patients a day with flu-related illness since Christmas, compared to before the holidays.

The next best advice is to avoid touching your face with your hands. "I tell my kids to keep their hands away from the holes in their head," she said. "Don't be touching your eyes, nose or mouth because there are germs on your hands."

Seemingly safe surfaces like kitchen counters, desks, refrigerator door handles and computer keyboards may also harbor the flu virus for hours -- sometimes as long as 48 hours, according to the Mayo Clinic. Make sure these are kept clean, Lawton counseled.

If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow -- not into the air where droplets can easily infect people near you.

Droplets from a vigorous cough can travel at 60 mph, Graham said.

If you do start to feel sick, stay home because people are contagious a day before they get symptoms and four days after those symptoms disappear, Lawton said.

The drug Tamiflu won't prevent the flu but it will shorten the course of the illness, Lawton said. Other than that, your best bet is to rest, drink lots of fluid and take an over-the-counter pain reliever, she added.

People at particular risk for the flu and its complications are pregnant women, those 65 and older and anyone with a chronic illness. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges these people to get a flu shot, which is available as an injection or nasal spray and in a stronger dose for seniors.

Forty-one states are reporting widespread flu activity. There have been 18 flu-related deaths of children so far and about 2,300 people have been hospitalized since Oct. 1, according to the CDC.

The epidemic is so bad in Boston, where four flu-related deaths have been reported, that Mayor Thomas Menino declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. The city has already recorded 700 confirmed cases of flu, compared with 70 cases for all of last year, according to Boston.com.

More information

To learn more about the flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Robert Graham, M..D., internist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Kristen Lawton, R.N., director, emergency department, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Fidelity Investments Brings the Happiness of the Holidays to Five Educational First Steps Assisted Centers
2. Student-athletes could lose eligibility, scholarships with tweet missteps, Baylor research shows
3. Mercy Health System Physician Reports on Important Steps To Take To Avoid Winter Sports Injuries
4. FDA Clears Laser for all Critical Steps in Cataract Surgery: Center For Sight Performs the Most LENSAR Laser Procedures in U.S.
5. Daily steps add up for midlife womens health
6. 5 Steps Would Lower Preemie Rates in Richest Countries: Study
7. Extra Steps Urged to Cut Alcohol, Drug Use in Military: Report
8. Further steps needed to reduce stigma and expand access to substance abuse
9. Mayo Clinic suicide prevention expert outlines new steps to tackle military suicide
10. NIH scientists map first steps in flu antibody development
11. New report describes 7 essential steps toward an AIDS-free generation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/29/2016)... Fl (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... recently notified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) that it ... , This is the first accreditation of three residency programs that Memorial is ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The American ... productivity, stability, even security. Most importantly, employees are the single most important asset ... American workers so unhappy? , Just under half of American workers are emotionally ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Coast Dental Fort Stewart is celebrating ... new location in the Exchange Furniture Mall at 112 Vilseck Road in Fort Stewart. ... Smart TV. Plus attendees will have the opportunity to meet general dentists Thomas Richards, ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... City, Missouri (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... traditional crutches which put pressure on the armpits, the M+D Crutch evenly distributes body ... strain on their wrists and hands when using the crutches than with other crutches. ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... Dr. Robert Mondavi, one of the dentists in ... is a fast-growing field as more patients are discovering the many different ways they ... the options currently available to them and which ones might work for their smiles. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... YORK , April 28, 2016 ... online consumer insights on healthcare, announced today that it ... their report Cool Vendor in Life Sciences, 2016, ... April 15, 2016.  The report focuses on life-science- oriented ... gain insight from patients and doctors, confirm medication ingestion, ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016   Acsis , a leading provider ... IT market research and advisory firm IDC has named ... MarketScape: Worldwide Pharmaceutical Track and Trace Software 2016 Vendor ... an assessment of the capabilities and business strategies of ... market. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160427/360791LOGO ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Inc. (Nasdaq: HOLX ) announced today ... quarter ended March 26, 2016.  GAAP diluted earnings ... non-GAAP diluted EPS of $0.47 increased 14.6%.  Revenue ... basis, and 6.3% on a constant currency basis.  ... highlighted by 14.6% growth in non-GAAP EPS," said ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: