Friday, December 27, 2013

Will the flu cost you vacation days from work?

January beings the peak season for the flu.   We have ample supply of the
vaccine and urge parents to schedule an appointment to get their children immunized.    This can be done in our “shots only” clinic or if you have a regularly scheduled  appointment, just ask the nurse or physician about getting the flu shot while you are in the office.
Flu season can be mild one year and awful the next.   The influenza A strain is the most prevalent virus this year although there are over 200 different strains of the virus that have been identified this season.   For some, the virus can be serious enough to cause hospitalization.   Flu is especially hard on babies and the elderly.   The vaccine is recommended for anyone over 6 months of age.
While we recommend everyone consider influenza vaccination this year,   children with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or seizures should get vaccinated as they are at risk for more serious complications from the flu.
Others to consider are our high school and college students.  The virus can spread quickly among teens and missing 5-10 days of school can be extremely stressful to make up the rigorous work load.
We strongly encourage families with children less than 6 months of age to receive the flu vaccine. Yes, this includes parents and grandparents.  This can help prevent bringing the flu virus into the house and exposing young infants to a potentially deadly virus.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports flu activity in 48 states currently.  Infection rates are highest among children.  Symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches and headache.  In children, the flu can also cause seizures and diarrhea.
It takes approximately 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine for it to take total effect so it is recommended that your child be immunized now before returning to school after the holidays.

Children tend to bring colds and flu home to share with the family so this is a good time to remind everyone to cover their coughs and sneezes and wash their hands frequently.  Young children should also be reminded not to put things in their mouths, especially at daycare and school where items are touched and shared by others.
You can schedule your child's flu shot at any of our offices by calling our main line at 630.717.2300.
 
How much do you know about the flu?

Take this quick true or false quiz!  Answers at the bottom of the page.  (courtesy of cdc.gov/flu)
 

  1. The stomach flu is the same as influenza.
  2. The flu virus can be shared up to 6 feet away.
  3. Hand washing is the best protection against the flu.
  4. You are not contagious until you have symptoms.
  5. Antibiotics should be used for the flu.
  6. Flu virus can survive on a door handle for up to 2 days.

Answers:

     A.  False.  The stomach flu is intestinal while influenza is respiratory.
     B.  True.  Droplets from a cough or sneeze can be spread up to 6 feet.
     C.  False.   Getting a flu shot is the best protection!
     D.  False.  You can be contagious one day before symptoms appear and up to
           7 days after.
     E.  False.  Antibiotics do not help with viral illnesses.   Should your child
          develop a bacterial infection, antibiotics may in some cases be necessary.
     F.  True.   The flu virus can linger for up to 2 days on unwashed surfaces.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Man, I really hope it doesn't! Do you think they'll be able to tell me at the pediatrics clinic in Spring Lake NC . I can't miss any more work than I absolutely have to.