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Don't be fooled - Influenza season is not quite over

The threat of Influenza is not over! MacDill has now had its first confirmed case of the flu.

The state of Florida is just now seeing sporadic cases of influenza regionally. The recent increase in travel due to the holidays may have had something to do with the rise in cases. After all, Florida is a great place for folks who live in colder climates to visit in the middle of winter.

If we see a further increase in influenza activity, then patients coming to the hospital for influenza-like illness will be asked to use hand-sanitizing solutions and put on a facemask to protect other patients from possibly being exposed to the flu.

There are good health habits that can help prevent the flu. The following activities may help prevent the spread of the flu this season:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance (about three feet) from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Remember to appropriately dispose of used tissues.
  • Wash your hands often to help protect yourself from germs. Using antibacterial gels or liquid hand cleaners is a good alternative when hand washing isn't practical.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

If you get the flu, you will need to do the following:

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of liquids (juices, water, noncarbonated drinks, etc.)
  • If you are able to drink liquids, then voiding urine at least once every 8-12 hours is a must.
  • Make sure that you can eat even if it is only lightly (Jell-O, toast, applesauce, etc.)
  • Avoid using alcohol and tobacco products
  • Take medication to relieve the symptoms of flu (but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever, without first speaking to your doctor)

It is recommended that you keep flu survival supplies in your home before you get the flu. You may want to make sure that you have bottled juice, applesauce, decongestants, nonaspirin pain and fever reliever in an ample supply to get you through about five to seven days of illness.

You should also note that some symptoms may linger for weeks after you are feeling better and can return to work. These symptoms are fatigue, coughing, loss of appetite, etc.

Remember to wash your hands with warm soapy water frequently. If washing your hands is not practical, then be sure to use sanitizing solutions.

The criteria for getting influenza vaccination have now expanded to include individuals who are 50 years old and older.

A virus causes the flu or influenza, so antibiotics such as penicillin don't work to cure it. Do your part to keep yourself healthy!

 

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