Flu season continues to rage on

Jonathan Kaupanger
February 28, 2018 - 9:16 am

Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA

Categories: 

Hospitalization rates for the flu have reached the highest point, ever, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Averaged together, there are 74.5 confirmed hospitalizations per every 100,000 Americans.

It’s not too late to get your flu shot, according to Veterans Affairs Chief Consultant for Preventive Medicine, Dr. Jane Kim. “Flu is still circulating around the country and will continue into spring,” she said. “The flu vaccine will protect you, especially from the strains that will be circulating later in the flu season.”

There are several things you should still keep in mind about the flu, most importantly, wash your hands. “Touching your eyes, nose or mouth is a surefire way of introducing infectious organisms into your body. So, keeping your hands clean is your best defense,” Kim said.

People can spread the flu about one day before they start feeling sick and up to five days after getting sick, so if you think you have the flu, stay home. When you have the flu, most people realize that you can spread it by sneezing and coughing. The talking and laughing can spread the virus into the air droplet and these droplets can spread to people and surfaces up to six feet away.

The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, so besides washing your hands, cleaning surfaces is your next best bit of prevention. Think about things you touch often like phones, faucets, light switches, countertops and door handles. Don’t forget about your computer keyboard and mouse and especially the TV remote!

Sometimes it’s not totally clear at first if you have the flu or just a bad cold. The VA has a flu self-assessment tool to help you figure out if you should get medical attention or not. 

Dr. Kim also said that you shouldn’t mess around if you start feeling bad. "Sometimes a secondary infection like pneumonia can jump on you while you have the flu, and that’s seriously bad news. So get the medial attention you need. Don’t procrastinate or try to tough it out!”