10 31 2014

Flu Season Hitting Texans Hard

An active and early start to flu season has put healthcare professionals into high alert entering 2013.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading, whether they match the viruses in the vaccine, and how many people get the vaccine. Influenza activity began relatively early compared to recent seasons during the 2012-2013 season.”
The most recent data from the CDC, released for the final week of 2012, notes that Texas currently ranks at the highest reported levels of influenza-like illnesses in the country.
Many local clinics and healthcare providers have already reported spikes in flu and flu-like cases, adding that they’ve run out of the flu vaccine and are currently waiting for additional shipments.
Although several Van Zandt County schools have reported high absences since students have started back to school since the holiday, they have not been able to confirm if it is due to the flu.
The CDC website advises, “People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk…Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.”
Flu symptoms can include, but are not limited to, fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.
Outside of getting the flu vaccine, the CDC recommends “People should wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.”

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