By Rita Cook.
This is a very active year for Influenza [flu], says Dr. Michael Palestine, Southwest Care Center Family Medicine in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “One of the biggest challenges faced during Influenza season is disseminating a clear and accurate message to those at greatest risk of acquiring and experiencing complications from this infection.”
Palestine says that this gap in understanding engenders “under vaccination” of those who might benefit the most. Additionally, the vast majority of the vaccine supply is a killed virus that does not lead to post vaccination influenza.
“We encourage individuals to be aware of those coughing and sneezing, and especially if they are not taking the proper precautions,” Palestine explains. “To stay safe use the bend in your elbow to catch the spray of respiratory droplets and use alcohol hand sanitizer frequently when in public.”
While Santa Fe is not as bad as in other regions of the United States this year, doctors say that nevertheless, this is not the perception of those who have experienced the illness first hand.
In the Dallas, Texas area where the flu hit harder, Beth Trimble, DeSoto, Texas ISD Director of Communications, says, “We encourage all students, parents, and employees to use preventive care during the full flu and cold season. The best defense against the flu is a good offense – get a flu vaccination.”
Recent news reports indicate that Texas will once again be one of the states at the epicenter of this year’s outbreak, but getting a flu vaccination is one way to minimize the spread of the disease.
The flu is contagious and spread by coughing, sneezing, nasal secretions, and even touching things, which according to recent news reports, the contagion lives for a long time on anything touched, so following the ABCDs of influenza prevention is a recommendation. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes with your hands; be sure to wash your hands often or use sanitizer; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the corner of your arm and if a student, don’t go to school if you are ill.
“The public should protect oneself with a vaccine or available medications in a timely fashion, if exposed to Influenza, which is beneficial not only for oneself, but also for those important people around us,” Palestine says. “Remember, Influenza is a killer, with complications such as encephalitis (brain infection,) myocarditis (heart muscle infection,) and severe life threatening infectious lung complications.”
Article reprinted with permission of USAonRace.com
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