Ask the expert about flu |

Ask the expert about flu

Trish Cerise Valley View Hospital Infection Prevention NurseGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Trish Cerise

Editors Note: Ask the Expert will be an occasional feature in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent where we go to experts in certain fields to provide readers with information that could be of value.

Get a flu shot. The flu can be a serious disease and an early flu vaccination is the best protection. The flu vaccine stimulates your body to produce antibodies against the three main flu strains most likely to cause illness during the flu season. A flu shot prevents you from getting sick, or it can make your illness milder. It also helps prevent the spread of the flu to others, especially those who are at risk for complications.Dont forget everyday infection control steps like frequent hand washing and the use of a waterless hand sanitizer to decrease viruses picked up from items we share with others. Cough into a sleeve or tissue rather than your hands.

It depends on the match between the viruses in the vaccine and flu viruses that are actually circulating. A close match translates to high (70 to 90 percent) effectiveness. In years where the match is not so close, effectiveness is reduced.

You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. However allergic reactions may occur, especially in people who are allergic to eggs.

Flu vaccine is available through many physician offices. Some area pharmacies offer them, as well. In addition, the Garfield County Public Health Department is hosting flu shot clinics in a wide variety of locations over the next couple of weeks, with $20 vaccinations for adults and $10 for children.

Symptoms and severity can vary, but may include fever, dry cough, aching muscles and joints, weakness and fatigue, runny nose and sore throat. Children may have nausea and vomiting.

Prescription antiviral drugs keep flu viruses from reproducing in your body, making your illness milder and shorter. People at high risk will be glad to know that these medicines can help prevent serious complications. Antiviral drugs should be started within two days of the beginning of symptoms. The FDA-approved influenza antiviral agents recommended for use in the United States this influenza season are Tamiflu and Relenza.

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