What NOT To Catch – Flu UpdateJanuary 15, 2013
Central Texas continues to experience a confirmed influenza outbreak as the number of confirmed flu cases continues to rise. ARC physicians are seeing more cases of flu-like symptoms in all locations. The cold, damp weather provides more opportunities to catch the flu, as do schools and workplaces. But there’s still time to immunize, and use common precautions to avoid getting the flu. ARC has multiple Flu Clinic sites providing immunizations, though vaccine supply is limited and appointments need to be scheduled. It’s not too late to immunize and have protection throughout the flu season.
Texas is among 29 states reporting high influenza-like illness (ILI), the highest level of flu activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 47 states are now reporting widespread geographic influenza activity. ARC Lab reports running 1,996 tests for flu last week, up from 1,201 the week before, with 39% of those testing positive for flu Type A or Type B. Flu has been steadily increasing in Texas, having begun earlier than usual. Flu season generally peaks in January and February in the Central Texas region, though this year the flu season could easily continue through March and into April.
This year’s flu vaccine is about a 90% match with the dominant seasonal flu strains, which means the vaccine can offer a high level of protection.
Flu symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Widespread muscle and joint aches
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Runny nose
- Nausea, chills
- Fever of 100.4F or higher
If you or others experience these symptoms, especially sore muscles, fatigue and higher fever, see your doctor to be treated. Physicians also advise taking Tamiflu within 48 hours of illness onset to help reduce the duration of the flu.
And don’t forget the precautions you can take to help avoid the flu:
- Get immunized. The flu vaccine is still the most important way to protect against the flu.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Keep away from people who are sick, as much as you can.
- Stay home from work or school if you feel ill.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth – germs are often spread this way.
- Stay in shape. Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and relaxation.
For more information about ARC Flu Clinics and to schedule an appointment, visit our flu vaccinations page.
For more information about the flu, visit our ARC Patient Education library and and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).