Local healthcare professionals urge people to get flu shots

Published 5:31 pm Monday, December 17, 2012

This year’s flu season has gotten an early start this year, leaving many missing days at work and school.

Ronnie Chu, local healthcare professional, said in their clinic they are seeing about 4-5 cases of the flu a day. This includes some cases of patients that may have pnemonia on top of the flu, he said.

“We encourage everyone to get a flu vaccine, which would help to develop an immunity to the virus,” he said.

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Jaci Gonzalez, clinical director of MedCenter, Demopolis said they are seeing more cases of the flu this year, because the flu season started earlier.

“We recommend everyone receives their flu vaccine and for those who haven’t, now is the time,” she said.

She said for those experiencing the symptoms such as body aches, chills and a fever should go to the doctor, so they can better treat you.

She said in efforts to combat the flu strand, people should practice good hand-washing, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Dr. Elwin Crawford of MedCenter, Demopolis said other than a few years ago when the swine flu was a big problem, it was about 10 years ago before he saw the flu as bad as it is this year.

For those who are fighting the flu bug, many healthcare professionals urge those to stay at home in efforts to not expose others.

Flu shots are for those 6 months and up and the vaccines are available up until June of next year.

Local healthcare professionals are still offering flu shots at various prices.

The flu this year has also caused a lot of children to miss school.

Barbara Etheridge, surveillance nurse, who handles eight counties including Marengo, said while some counties are having alarming absentee rates, Marengo is not one of them.

Etheridge also echoed the sentiments of Gonzalez saying this flu season is earlier this year.

She said the flu shot has the three strands in the vaccine in efforts to grant the person the necessary immunity for the virus.

“It takes two weeks to build up the immunity after taking the flu shot,” she said.

The Center for Diease Control offers the following information as preventive actions towards the flu:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

• If you or your child gets sick with a respiratory illness, like flu, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading illness. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities. Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

• If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.