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Dr. Hebner on FOX7: Update on Flu in Austin

The flu season has just begun and there are already more than 200 flu deaths, according the Texas Department of Health and Human Services in a FOX7 news report. It is leaving many concerned, will the 2018-19 flu season be as widespread and severe as last year?

ARC Pediatrician Dr. Claire Hebner explained to FOX7 Austin it is “too early to predict” what flu will be like this season. "I expect flu activity to continue for several more weeks," said Hebner.

She says the best way to protect yourself, your colleagues and family, is to get a flu shot. “Don’t wait until people around you are sick. It’ll likely be too late,” she warned.

Check out the complete interview here.

Are you seeing a lot of flu out there? ARC saw a sharp increase in flu cases around mid-December and we are likely still many weeks away from the peak.

What is the best way to prevent the flu?

Your best protection is the flu shot. Getting a flu shot not only prevents you from getting the flu, it will also reduce the severity of the flu in the rare chance that you get sick. Other preventative measures include simple common sense — stay away from people who are sick and wash hands frequently.

What is Tamiflu and how does it work?

Tamiflu is an oral medication that treats the viruses that cause the flu. If taken within 48 hours of getting the flu, some studies show it may reduce symptoms by about one day. You will still have the flu - there is no medicine out there yet that "cures" flu.

What is the risk of overprescribing of Tamiflu? 

The worry about overprescribing is that Tamiflu will be ineffective or less effective when most needed, particularly, for high-risk individuals such as babies and young children (under 2 years old), seniors and people with compromised immune systems and chronic health conditions. In short, the flu could become resistant to Tamiflu. Most healthy adults will get through flu with just a few days of rest and supportive measures; Tamiflu will do little if anything to change their symptoms. And Tamiflu often carries side effects.

What should you do if you get the flu?

If you suspect you might have the flu, talk to your doctor and find out what is best for you.

Need to get a flu shot? Contact ARC and book an appointment.

Tags: Flu shot, flu vaccine, flu, Dr. Claire Hebner, Tamiflu

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