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Influenza: Taking care of yourself and others

Posted 1/10/2013   Updated 1/10/2013 Email story   Print story


66th Medical Squadron

1/10/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine Epidemiology Service are reporting a rise in flu cases throughout the United States. According to the CDC, the amount of clinic visits for flu-like illness was above the national average.

Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications, including young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease.

Many viral infections can cause flu like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat and feeling tired. Whether you suffer from the common cold or the flu, treatment is similar.

Protecting yourself
Although not 100 percent effective, the flu vaccine is the first and best way to prevent flu for all individuals. The flu vaccine is still available at the Hanscom Clinic for those who have not received one this year.

Over the counter medications can help lessen symptoms. Antiviral drugs are available, but are not commonly prescribed except for high-risk patients. The flu and common cold will usually run their course over a period of a week.

Staying home and taking care of yourself and others while sick
CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for necessary travel. If you are sick, you should try to limit being in public places and wear a facemask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

The best method of prevention is to wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others. Supervisors may allow workers time off if they are exhibiting significant cold symptoms.

For more information go to http://publichealth.blog.state.ma.us/h1n1-swine-flu/ or www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/index.htm.

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