FLU SEASON IS UPON US
Flu season is in full swing and it is expected to last another 7-8 weeks. There have been several news reports regarding hospitalizations and associated deaths. Most of the latter have been in the pediatric population. Most states have reported widespread activity. Hospitalization rates are highest among individuals over the age of 65. The H3N2 strain has been the most commonly identified but there is also activity from the H1N1 strain. The flu virus is spread through person-to-person contact via droplets when people cough, sneeze, or talk. A person may also pick up the flu by touching something that has the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose. The period of infectivity begins one day prior to developing symptoms and can last for up to 7 days after becoming sick. There are some things you can do to help prevent the spread of infection. The CDC recommends a three-step approach including influenza vaccination, early treatment with antiviral therapy if you become sick and preventative actions to decrease the spread of infection. Measures to prevent the spread of infection include avoiding contact with those who are ill and limiting contact with others if you becomes sick (ie stay home). Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub. Disinfect surfaces that may become contaminated such as doorknobs, keyboards, and phones.