The kids are back in school, and it just rained. What happens next is inevitable. There’s a chill in the air at night, and suddenly you have no energy. Before you can reach of a box of Kleenex, your body begins to ache and your nose starts dribbling. You have the flu, and if you live in Arizona, it’s nearly impossible to avoid it this year.
So far this year, Arizona has the having the highest amount of flu cases nationwide. According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, one child and fourteen adults have died from influenza this year.
According to the Center of Disease Control there are three actions to fight the flu. The first course of action would be to take the flu vaccine. Everyone over the age of six months of age can obtain a flu shot.
The second thing to do would be to take action against spreading germs. Simple things like avoiding close contact with sick people is a no brainer, but it is easy to forget. While you are sick, stay home. Some could argue that we are having to go to work sick, and if you do, you are making the problem worse. Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, and after you’ve done so, throw it out. As always, wash your hands often with soap and water. Clean and disinfect objects that may have flu germs on them, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Lastly, the CDC advises that if your doctor prescribes antiviral drugs to you, you should take them. These drugs can be used to treat the illness, and help contain it. Antivirals are different from antibiotics, and are given via prescription.
Symptoms of the flu include a high fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. The stomach flu has vomiting and diarrhea on top of the other symptoms. However, you may have the flu with respiratory symptoms without a fever.
The people who are the highest risk of flu complications include infants younger than six months, pregnant women, and the elderly. The CDC suggests everyone should get the flu vaccine, and if you are prescribed the antivirals you should take them.
Yolanda Herrera, a medical assistant working at the Gila Valley Clinic says, “The flu shot is one of the more important things. By protecting ourselves, we protect other people.” When asked what can be done to keep from getting the flu, Herrera answered, “Everything is good handwashing skills. We advise parents not to take babies to Wal-Mart and not to take sick kids to Wal-Mart. But when you touch a cart that hasn’t been wiped down with Lysol, you have no idea what you’re coming into contact with.”
Glynna French, a local Kinesiologist and owner of Prevention First Natural Therapies, says that vitamins and good food are a must for health. “You have to take vitamin C and a multivitamin and immune herbs like echinacea and goldenseal.” When asked what the average person should do to keep from getting sick, she said, “You need to stay out of congested areas, and whenever you go into the store, take precautions. Keep yourself clean and your hands clean.”
It’s never too late to teach your kids how to wash their hands. Reminding little kids to wash their hands as soon as they get home will help keep the germs down in the house. If you already are sick, stay home, and we hope you feel better soon.