Health Alert: Flu Season May Be Severe
Dec 22, 2014 02:30PM ● Published by Diana Bogan
It looks like the 2014-15 flu season is turning out be unusually nasty and officials are urging that all Tennessee residents take steps to protect themselves.
“Early indications suggest this could be a more severe flu season than we have had for some time,” said John Dreyzehner, MD, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.
“Vaccination is likely to reduce the risk of severe illness even if not all strains are matched to the vaccine throughout the season. Because a flu vaccine is still the best protection, get it now if you have not done so.”
Symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, chills, coughing, runny nose, fatigue and sore throat.
Although most people recover fully from the disease, influenza nonetheless kills tens of thousands of people in the United States each year, mainly the very young, very old, or those with pre-existing health conditions. In bad flu season the number of deaths can skyrocket, which is why the medical industry spends so much time and money each year developing vaccines to fight the virus.
State officials are also reminding health care providers to give their patients antiviral medications, even when they haven’t conclusively tested positive for the flu.
“Anyone with flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body ache or fatigue should talk with a health care provider about starting antivirals as soon as possible after symptoms start,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD. “You don’t have to be tested for flu to start taking antiviral medications, which can greatly reduce the severity of flu-like illness.”
Even if you’ve already been vaccinated, you should still wash your hands with soapy water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and cover your mouth and face when coughing or sneezing.
Also, if you get sick then you should stay home to prevent spreading the illness.
And yes, for the record, we’ve also noted the inconsistency of telling sick people to stay home from work while simultaneously refusing to legally protect workers who do so. So, when a feverish waitress coughs near your food and your elderly parents end up in the hospital a week later as you lie in bed coughing your lungs up, don’t blame her. She just wanted to make a living and knows that, if she doesn’t show up for work, she’ll either get fired or end up missing so much from her paycheck that she and her kids will end up homeless.
Independent Staff Report