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:1/14/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... Body and Soul, incorporating a magnesium-rich Mediterranean diet may lower the risk of ... and Lounge notes that the many health and wellness benefits linked to a ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... ... The 18th European Congress: Perspectives in Lung Cancer will be held in Madrid ... expertly designed to meet the educational needs of European oncology clinicians and researchers who ... Giorgio V. Scagliotti, Professor of Oncology at the University of Torino, and organized by ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... An inventor from Pahrump, Nev., used an unsavory medical experience to ... wear a Foley catheter and urine bag for a half year due to lazy bladder," ... that there should be a better way to do this." , He then designed and ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... Friday, January 13 at 5 ... game room, increasing the size of the location to 90,000 square feet. , Included ... golf course that takes customers on an educational tour of the historic route, with ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... As the nation watches this month’s ... of colleges and schools of education across the country is urging a fundamental reconsideration ... of Principles released today, 175 deans sounded the alarm: “Our children suffer when we ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/13/2017)... Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited ("Concord Medical" ... leading specialty hospital management solution provider and operator of ... in China , announced that it ... Trust Co., Ltd. ("ZRT"). The Company signed ... Taihe Healthcare Fund in October 2016. The total amount of ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... 2017  Biologics Prescribers Collaborative (BPC) applauds ... for issuing final guidance calling for distinguishable ... is an important win for patients and ... pharmacovigilance, patient safety and transparency. ... FDA, we remain concerned with "random" suffixes called for ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... -- Cervical cancer test market in Asian region is growing ... declining women population, Japan has highest ... Indonesia is dominating in cervical cancer testing population ... rising sum of structured cervical cancer programs introduced by governments ... are some of the major growth drivers for the growth ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: