Thursday, February 14, 2008
Flu cases on increase in Marshall County
It starts with a sudden high-grade fever that can last three to four days. It’s accompanied by head and muscle aches, and topped off with either extreme fatigue or exhaustion. It can last from one to three weeks.
Healthcare providers say there is no mistaking it. It is the flu.
In Marshall County, like in Mississippi and the Southeast U.S., it is on the increase.
“We’re entering the peak of the flu season, and people need to take precaution,” said Susan Brame with Brame and Wright Medical Clinic. “If you have the flu, get medical care and stay at home. Going to school or work is what causes it to spread.”
Brame said it’s not uncommon for people to say they have the flu if they have a slight fever, coughing, and a running nose. However, if symptoms come on gradually it is more likely to be a bad cold, a sinus infection, or some other viral or bacterial infection.
“The flu really hits you and takes you down. When a patient has the flu, 99 percent of the time they have little choice but to get to bed.” said Brame.
“You only have to have the flu one time to know there is a dramatic difference from even the worst cold.”
But, not all the news is bad. Today, testing for the flu is more scientific and precise, and antibiotics are much more effective.
“In the past, diagnosing the flu and finding a remedy was largely left up to the skills and discretion of the healthcare provider. However, in the past few years highly reliable flu tests have been developed and successful flu-fighting antibiotics like Tammiflu, Erythrarory, and Z-Packs have become available,” said Brame.
Nothing is going to eliminate flu symptoms overnight or even a few days. Symptoms and the fatigue usually last at least a week.
“The key is to get diagnosed and on a flu-fighting prescription as quickly as possible,” said Brame. “If you have the flu and don’t get it treated, it can lead to something worse like pneumonia, and everyone knows how severe that can be.”
While cold winter days don’t cause the flu or severe colds, indirectly, they certainly contribute. Because people stay indoors more when it’s cold, whether for basketball games, shopping, movies, or just at home with family and friends, it’s much easier to come in contact with people or objects that carry the flu virus.
To avoid colds and flu, Brame recommends staying away from crowds, keeping your hands clean, getting plenty of rest, drinking a lot of fluids, and getting exercise.
If you start feeling sick, Brame recommends avoiding crowds, determine if your symptoms came on suddenly and severely, and get treated as soon as possible.
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