Got the flu? Experts tracking the virus say it’s going to get worse
February 5, 2018
A nasty flu virus this year has spread across 49 contiguous US states, and experts at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) expect the virus will continue to spread through April.
“Our number of flu cases have stabilized,” said Texas MedClinic Chief Operating Officer and practicing physician Dr. David Gude. “We are strongly encouraging all who have the flu to stay at home; reduce contact with others in order to reduce the spread of the virus. We have been at peak flu season, and I expect that there will be a drop in the number of cases, and we will see a peak again later in the season.” Flu season traditionally runs October through May.
The flu virus is spread from person-to-person. Droplets from the nose, eyes or mouth spread germs as close as 6-feet away.
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’s not too late.
Texas MedClinic offers flu shot administration, as do many doctor’s offices and pharmacies. The City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department is offering free flu shots on a first come, first serve basis. To learn more, visit their website.
Dr. Gude cautions those who are pregnant, under the age of 5 or over the age of 65, those who smoke, or those who have a severe or progressive illness (like cancer, heart disease, HIV, diabetes or asthma) who believe they may have the flu to seek medical care immediately.
“There are anti-viral medications that can reduce the flu virus’ impact on immune-compromised patients that need to be administered within the first 48 hours of symptoms,” said Gude. “For immune-compromised patients, the anti-viral medications may lessen flu symptoms and prevent pneumonia and other complications that could lead to death.” For patients who are not immune-compromised, anti-viral medications decrease the period of illness on average by one day.”
The CDC recently reported 53 children have died from the flu this year.
For those who are between the ages 5-50, not pregnant or immune-compromised and are experiencing flu-like symptoms like fever and chills, cough, sore throat, congestion, muscle and body aches or fatigue, Gude and his team of physicians are able to diagnose and provide treatment for symptoms.
“If you have the flu, in addition to treating symptoms, you need to rest and drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water daily. There is a silver-lining; most people will recover from the flu within one week.”