While many East Texas-area emergency rooms and doctors’ offices report seeing a large number of flu cases recently, the Gilmer hospital and two local doctors say they have not seen a large increase in victims of the sometimes severe respiratory disease.
Dr. Rucker Steven Murry said that they were seeing a “moderate” number of cases.
A nurse there said that keys to avoiding the flu include getting the annual vaccine, assuming you are able to take the shots, and if you are around a sick person “wash, wash, wash your hands.”
The nurse at Dr. David Buller’s office said they are seeing both types A and B flu strains (different types, with A the more severe), but the number of patients is “not unusually high.”
Gorge Leal, administrator of East Texas Medical Center Gilmer, told The Mirror that they are noticing an increase in cases coming there, “but not an alarming one.”
Melanie Brashear, a pharmacist at The Med Shop, said that demand for flu shots is running high.
“I’ve given 17 flu shots since noon,” she said at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. She pointed out that it takes about two weeks for the vaccination to reach its maximum effectiveness in the body.
The antiviral agent Tamiflu is believed to cut the duration of the flu in people who began taking doses of it within 48 hours after symptoms appear (in those one year old and older). It may reduce the duration by up to a day and a half.
Check with your doctor to make sure you can take a flu shot. Those who have ever had Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) or multiple sclerosis (MS—check with your doctor to see if you specifically can take the vaccine) cannot take the shots. There are other restrictions, as well.
In addition to vaccination, here are the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s recommends to avoid the flu and to avoid spreading it:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash right after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Try to avoid contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil is one brand) or acetaminophen (Tylenol is a name brand).
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.