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Outsmarting the Flu This Year

About 200,000 Americans are hospitalized every year with the flu. According to the CDC, the flu outbreak in Texas happened early (much earlier than expected) and the State has experienced a severe season so far this year, which has yet to officially “peak”. But it isn’t too late to get your flu shot!

Some reasons to get your flu shot:

  • Scott & White Hospital – Round Rock Emergency Room physicians continue to see cases of flu and don’t expect things to let up until early Spring.
  • Most patients coming into the ER have not had a flu shot yet.
  • flu vaccine cuts your risk of becoming infected by up to 85% – the injection doesn’t guarantee you’ll avoid the flu altogether, but it does offer substantial protection, and if you do get it, it will be a milder case.
  • If you don’t like needles, you can opt for the nasal version of the vaccine (as long as you’re not pregnant or immune-compromised).
  • It protects your baby. If you’re expecting, the vaccine will not only ward off the flu for both of you, it may also reduce risk of stillbirth, pre-term birth and low birth weights.

About Flu

Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory infection caused by different flu viruses. It’s important to understand flu symptoms so you can seek immediate treatment, especially if you have a chronic medical condition. The flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. It often starts with the abrupt onset of fever, headache, fatigue and body aches. Here’s a list of flu symptoms you might feel:

  • fever (usually high)
  • severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles and around the eyes
  • generalized weakness
  • ill appearance with warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes
  • headache
  • dry cough
  • sore throat and watery discharge from your nose

Ross Tobleman, MD says that many people know how mild last year’s season was and don’t go out and get a flu vaccine so that is also affecting how severe this year’s season is. You should always get your flu shot especially if you’re high risk. “This year’s vaccine has been very effective – it’s right on the nose for the predominant strain and getting vaccinated gives your body that increased immune response against any type of flu,” Tobleman said.

The Flu Vaccine Cannot Give you the Flu

Despite what stories you’ve heard, the flu vaccine is made up of dead, inactive and denatured flu virus particles and it absolutely cannot give you the flu. Remember getting vaccinated is not just about you, it’s about protecting others around you — those in your community, your family, protecting them as well as yourself.

Prevention Tips:

  • Wash Your Hands and Cover Your Mouth!
  • Coughing spreads the flu if you are a sick and the flu is transmitted by respiratory droplets.
  • Carry around Alcohol Rubs which will do until you can wash your hands with soap and water which is best.
  • If you’re sick and not feeling well, stay home and don’t go to work especially if you have fever – stay at home – drink fluids and get some rest – don’t go out until you’re fever free for at least 24 hours – you don’t want to spread those germs around!

When to go to the ER

Dr. Tobleman says rest and fluids are critical if you’re at home dealing with a case of the flu and since its’ viral there’s not much doctors can do for you, however, if you’re severely short of breath at rest, or cannot tolerate oral fluids and concerned about dehydration, you should visit your nearest emergency room or urgent care clinic.

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Outsmarting the Flu This Year