12
Jan

Flu Season Severe 2017-2018

fight the flu prevention symptoms vaccineFlu Season Today?

As of the end of December 2017, the flu season is officially moderately severe.  The flu is widespread in 46 states.  This is up from 36 states in the previous week.  The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research reveals that flu hospitalization is about 3 times higher than it was in the same time period in 2016.  In addition, the flu season started earlier this year than it did in 2016.  During the same time period in 2016, only 12 states had reported widespread activity, as compared to 46 states this flu season.  This pretty much matches what I’ve been seeing in our office in Florida.  About 3 weeks ago, we began to diagnose multiple children with the flu every day.

 

Why is this Flu Season Severe?

This season’s dominate flu strain is an Influenza A strain, H3N2, which is a particularly severe and causes more symptoms than other strains typically do.

 

What Are Flu Symptoms?

Flu symptoms typically include a fever and nasal congestion at a minimum. Other symptoms may include weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, body aches, and more.

 

What To Do If I Think I Have the Flu?

If you are feeling sick with flu-like symptoms, you may want to consider going to see a doctor, especially within the first 48 hours of your illness.  Your doctor may be able to prescribe an anti-viral medication against the flu, Tamiflu, which is effective in preventing worsening symptoms of the flu by stopping its replication.  However, if you’ve been sick with the flu for more than 48 hours, Tamiflu is not effective.

 

I Have the Flu.  Now What?

Follow your doctor’s instructions.  Drink plenty of fluids.  Rest.  Stay home.  Do not go to work, school, religious gatherings, or other community gatherings or events.  By going out, you increase the risk of spreading the flu.  In addition, as the flu weakens the immune system, if you go out, you place yourself at risk for contracting a secondary bacterial infection, such as pneumonia, sinusitis, or an ear infection.

 

How Do I Prevent Myself From Getting the Flu?

Good old-fashioned hand washing is helpful, as flu droplets may linger on countertops and other objects. Hand washing prevents many other common infections as well (http://drsilvatotstweensandteens.com/2013/01/new-norovirus-highly-contagious-virus.html).

The good news is that the CDC reports that this season’s flu vaccine strains are a good match to the live flu virus strains that are circulating (http://bit.ly/2CLWaCZ).  That means the flu vaccine is providing good protection against the flu by preventing the flu so far.

The best course of action is to make sure you and your children get the flu vaccine.  It’s not too late.  No one knows exactly when the flu season ends.  From the looks of it, it will probably continue for another few months.  There is still time to protect yourself.  Get the flu vaccine at your doctor’s office, health department, school, or pharmacy today.

8
Oct

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)

enterovirus - 2014-1008 -imageedit_7_9044717870What is Enterovirus D68?

Enterovirus is a non-polio virus that was first discovered in California in 1962. (http://1.usa.gov/1rVzPYU) It typically exists during the Summer and Fall, with frequency of the virus decreasing in late Fall.  

 

Where is Enterovirus D68 in the United States in 2014?

This year, Enterovirus D68 is documented with severe respiratory illness in the United States. Currently, the Centers for Disease control (CDC) or state labs have confirmed 628 people infected with this virus in 44 states and the District of Columbia.  Yesterday, the Florida Department of Health confirmed Florida's first Enterovirus D68 infection in a 10 year old girl from Polk county who was treated in Hillsborough County at Tampa General Hospital one (1) month ago for six (6) days. (http://on.wtsp.com/ZQzSw3)  The reality is that Enterovirus D68 is everywhere.

 

Enterovirus D68 Updates:

Update 10/8/14: Enterovirus D68 appears to be winding down.  Fewer severe respiratory illnesses reported last week.  Peak was three (3) weeks ago. (http://usat./1vUOJPz)

Update 10/16/14: CDC new rRT-PCR test for Enterovirus D68 allows more rapid test for the more than 1,000 remaining specimens from since mid-Sept. (http://bit.ly/ZC9JzW).  This will result in an increased number of positive results.  However, this will be for past infections, not recent ones.  Enterovirus D68 still appears to be winding down.  

 

What Are the Symptoms of Enterovirus D68?

Enterovirus is typically misdiagnosed as a common cold, rhinovirus, RSV, or the flu. Typical symptoms include those of cold symptoms, runny nose, cough, sneezing, and achiness.  In more severe cases, wheezing and difficulty breathing has occurred. There have been four (4) deaths associated with Enterovirus.  In addition, the Colorado Health Department reports that partial paralysis has occurred in 12 Colorado children infected with Enterovirus D68. (http://dpo.st/1CTtJgp)  The CDC is investigating the deaths and the potential paralysis link. 

 

Who's at Highest Risk for Contracting Enterovirus D68?

Infants, children, and teenagers are at highest risk for contracting the disease as they have not had sufficient exposure and therefore immunity against this virus.  Those who have asthma and reactive airway disease are at higher risk to have more severe symptoms and illness from the virus.

 

How Do I Prevent Enterovirus D68?

•Hand washing, hand washing, and hand washing! Hand sanitizers are not effective in prevention.  This virus spreads by cough, sneeze, or touching an infected surface.  

•Non-alcohol disinfectants are effective. However, hand washing is still the best.

•Keep your sick child home.  This is very important to prevent the spread of this virus. Remember, in some, this virus acts like the common cold.  However, if your child spreads it to someone else, the child may develop more severe symptoms.

•Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

•Clean commonly used surfaces (countertops, door knobs, toys, etc) with bleach water.

 

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you or your child have asthma or reactive airway disease, develop cold symptoms, fever, wheezing or shortness of breath, then go see a doctor.  

 

What is the Treatment for Enterovirus D68?

There is no cure for this virus.  There is supportive care.  The sooner you or your child receive supportive care, the better the outcome. That being said, it doesn't mean that the moment you or your child gets sick, you should run to the pediatrician.  However, if you or your child has asthma or reactive airway disease, become ill with fever, cold symptoms, is wheezing or short of breath, your pediatrician should examine your child.

Enterovirus D68 is most commonly a mild disease.  However, this year, it has become a scary one.  Knowing your child's health, closely observing them if they are ill, and follow-up care with your pediatrician will help in the treatment of Enteovirus D68, so it won't terrify you.

Back to Top
Optimized with PageSpeed Ninja