Tag Archives: The flu

It’s A Bad Flu Season

We’re in the middle of a tough flu season. In fact, Lexington Medical Center doctors say it may be the worst flu season in South Carolina since 2010.

In October, the Lexington Medical Center Emergency department saw 15 flu cases; in November, 80; in December, 550. And, in just the first week of January – 300 flu cases.

“The flu is a very serious illness,” said Daniel L. Avosso, MD, MBA, FACEP, FACHE, medical director of the Emergency department at Lexington Medical Center. “It causes hospitalization and death. And its symptoms last longer than other illnesses.”

Unoftunately, Dr. Avosso says this year’s flu vaccine may not be as effective as we had hoped.

“Each year, we have to predict what vaccine to make. Some years, we get it right. Others, we don’t,” he said. The accuracy of the vaccine determines the severity of the flu season.”

However, Dr. Avosso advises that patients should still get a flu shot. That’s because if you’re exposed to the flu after having the vaccine, your symptoms may not be as severe.

It’s especially important for people with underlying conditions to have a flu vaccine. That includes people with asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, congestive heart failure, neurological issues and who are bed bound. It also includes the very young, pregnant women and the elderly population. That’s because these groups are most likely to be hospitalized with flu complications.

The flu is spread through small microscopic droplets. You can contract the flu from someone who is as many as six feet away from you. You can also catch it from touching the same door knob as someone with the flu. It’s important to be especially careful in crowds.

Daniel Avosso, MD

The flu tends to peak this time of year because people are stuck inside in cold weather spreading germs from one person to another as opposed to the warmer weather months where people enjoy the outdoors.

If you’re exposed to the flu, you’re likely to develop flu symptoms between one and four days later. If you have the flu, you were contagious the day before your symptoms appeared and up to a week later.

Tamiflu is a medicine that can help shorten the duration of the flu and help with symptoms. But you need to begin taking it between one and two days after symptoms appear. And because it can cause side effects, some doctors recommend it only for a select group of patients.

The flu is a virus – so antibiotics won’t help. In addition to Tamiflu, it’s important to stay hydrated, rest and treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medication. With proper care, the flu will eventually run its course.

The Flu Vaccine: Who Will You Do It For?

This time of year, it’s important to receive a flu vaccine. By becoming vaccinated, you protect yourself from getting sick and passing influenza to patients, co-workers, family members and others.

LMC is launching a flu vaccine campaign. Personalize a sign with the name of the person or persons for whom you get the flu vaccine. Then, ask someone to take a photo of you and your sign with a cell phone and post these pictures to Facebook or Instagram, or text the photo to your loved ones. Use hashtags #NotJustForYou! and #FluVaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated annually as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. Vaccination is especially important for health care workers and those who live with or care for people at high risk of flu complications, such as children younger than 2 years, adults older than 65 years and pregnant women.

Sometimes, people can be skeptical of the flu vaccine. In this news video from WIS-TV, LMC doctor Jeremy Crisp of Lexington Family Practice Northeast talks about that.

Meanwhile, take everyday preventive steps to reduce the spread of germs:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink fluids and eat healthy foods.
• Cough into your sleeve instead of your hands if you do not have a tissue.
• If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without taking fever-reducing medicine.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.