Flu is on the rise in San Antonio
February 28, 2019
Flu season is still active in Texas
Flu has been moderate in the state this season, but flu diagnoses are on the rise and making a big impact in San Antonio too.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the levels of influenza-like activity were high for the week of Jan. 14 in the Lone Star State. That comes after the first two weeks of January in which the levels were moderate and low, respectively.
The CDC is unsure how severe this flu season will be as there are still weeks of flu activity to come so that means you need to be vigilant in keeping the disease from spreading.
What you can do to stop the spread of the flu?
- Wash your hands. A lot. Use soap and water and scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
Hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs, particularly for those who live in a household where the flu is present. Be vigilant about washing hands before and after you eat, when handling or preparing food, after handling garbage, or after touching community surfaces like workroom tables, doorknobs and stairway handles.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects like door knobs, desks, and refrigerator handles.
The flu virus can live up to 48 hours after being left behind on a surface. Although the flu virus can survive on hands for only 3 to 5 minutes, if other people later touch a contaminated surface and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can be exposed to the flu.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid gatherings, if possible. And, if you are sick, stay at home.
- Get the flu shot. It is not too late.
Texas MedClinic offers flu shot administration, as do many doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
How do you know if it is a cold or the flu?
A cold or upper respiratory infection and the flu are both viruses and are spread through human contact.
“A cold starts slowly with a sore throat, followed by congestion,” said Texas MedClinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gude. “Symptoms last for about 3-5 days. Fevers are uncommon with colds.”
“The flu comes on quickly with fever, chills and body aches,” said Gude. “Sore throat, headaches, sneezing, and congestion usually follow, and are usually more severe than a cold. Flu symptoms hang around longer, too, anywhere from 5-10 days.”
Antibiotics do not prevent or lessen symptoms from the cold or flu, however antiviral medicine like Tamiflu can help prevent flu. Antiviral medications work only if received within the first 48 hours of exposure to the flu virus.
There are over-the-counter remedies that can help reduce both cold and flu symptoms, but with rest and hydration, most healthy adults will feel well within one week for a cold and two weeks with the flu.
Following the steps above on how to stop the flu from spreading may also be used for preventing colds/upper respiratory infections. However, there is not a vaccination for a cold.
“A flu shot is your best prevention for the flu,” said Gude.
“It’s important to know that the biggest difference between a cold and flu is that the flu virus can lead to serious health issues like pneumonia and hospitalization, especially among the young, elderly and those who are immune-compromised or have lung or heart issues,” said Gude. “The flu was responsible for close to 10,000 deaths in Texas last season.”
If you have the flu, and are experiencing the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Severe headache
- Severe chest pain
Texas MedClinic was established in 1982 by Dr. Bernard T. Swift, Jr., as a group medical practice that specializes in urgent care and occupational medicine. Texas MedClinic has grown to 13 locations in San Antonio, two in New Braunfels, one in Spring Branch, two in Austin and one in Round Rock. Texas MedClinic is staffed with 82 medical providers including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners and over 450 employees.23