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Monday, January 7, 2013

Flu News

The flu's back.  After 2 mild years, the number of cases is up.  The first 2013 report from the CDC has influenza activity widespread in 41 states, including ours.  The number of doctor visits nationally is already more than twice last year's peak; hospital visits are becoming more common, and there have already been 18 pediatric deaths.

Closer to home, 27 patients have been hospitalized since September for flu in Washtenaw County, and the number of emergency room visits is higher.

The best way for us to stay healthy, as always, is to:

1) Practice good hygiene: wash your hands!
2) Stay home and rest if you get sick
3) Get a flu shot or flu mist if you haven't had one
4) See your doctor within 24 hours of fever or flu symptoms.  In some cases, flu can be treated with antivirals by your physician

The influenza vaccine, which is supposed to be a good fit for the circulating H3N2, H1N1 and B strain viruses, should be fully effective 2 weeks after vaccination.  And antivirals, like Tamiflu, which can shorten the severity and duration of symptoms, can be prescribed for children as young as one month.  But they're most effective if started within 48 hours.  So give us a call if you haven't been immunized, or as soon as you're sick.  A flu shot or flu mist will help prevent the infection; and an antiviral will help stop it in its tracks.


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