According to a Jan 12th article in the Knox Times, (www.knoxnews.com) the flu season has hit Tennessee hard this year-and still has a few weeks to run.
“We’re up to our proverbial ears in influenza,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. “Over the last two weeks, our hospitalization numbers in Middle Tennessee have gone through the roof. Every hospital, every emergency room, every Minute Clinic and, I think, virtually every doctor’s office … is full of flu, and influenza-like illness”, reported the Knox Times.
The elderly and children younger than five are at highest risk for hospitalization and death, along with people who have immune systems compromised or who have underlying serious chronic health conditions.
The Tennessee Health Department offers guidelines on how to deal with-or try and avoid, getting the flu.
“Staying home and calling your health care provider is usually the right move,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD. “Most people who get the flu know pretty quickly.
It feels different, coming on faster and a lot worse in terms of aches, weakness and fever than a typical winter cold.
Most people don’t need to go to an emergency room, and you may not need to be seen by a provider, but getting those antivirals started as soon as possible can make the illness much shorter and less severe including for people who have been vaccinated. Antivirals are particularly important, potentially lifesaving, for higher-risk people.”
Follow these additional tips to protect your family and others from the flu:
Always using “respiratory etiquette” by coughing into your elbow or a tissue instead of your hands
Wash hands frequently with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub
Routine cleaning and disinfection in the home and workplace are important to reduce flu risks
For more information on preventing seasonal flu, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm.