Flu Season Notes
Flu season officially starts this week, although the Amarillo area is already experiencing cases of the illness. Steps are being taken now to help prevent a major outbreak later this fall. The push for flu shots is underway.
Influenza or "flu", is a very contagious virus that can lead to hospitalization and even death. It is extremely hard on the sick, the elderly, and the very young. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to form in the body. These antibodies provide some protection from the flu.
The flu vaccine usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to reach its peak of effectiveness. So by getting a flu shot now through the month of October, you've built that immunity up before we get into peak flu season.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine for anyone 6 months or older.
Even if a person is vaccinated, there is still a chance they will get the flu. The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu virus.
Please do not confuse the flu with a common cold. Flu symptoms typically include severe aches in the muscles and joints, weakness and fatigue, headache, a dry cough, sore throat and runny nose. Antiviral treatment may be given within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms while the virus is actively replicating. Antiviral treatment is usually reserved for those who may be immunocompromised.
If you do get the flu - get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and try to avoid contact with others until you are free of fever for at least 24 hours.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have trouble breathing, sudden dizziness, confusion, or severe vomiting and dehydration.
Traci Bigham, LVN
Family Medicine Center 34th & Coulter: James D. Hale, MD