Saving yourself from the flu before it’s too late

by Kristine Alfaro, Staff Writer 0

Flu ClinicCough, cough. Sneeze. Sniffle. You’ve taken notice to three sounds every college student dreads – the sounds of Influenza.

The seasonal flu virus has emerged at College of the Canyons as well as thousands of other campuses across the nation.

“We’re continuing to see influenza activity remaining elevated in most of the U.S.,” said Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

Across the country, since October 1, 2012, 10,227 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported.

24 states and New York City are battling a large cache of Influenza-like-illnesses down from 29 states in February. 16 states have reported a moderate number of flu cases, up from nine last month, according to figures from the CDC.

“Declines may be because the disease level has peaked in some areas and is coming down,” Frieden said. “Next week we may see that go up again,” he said.
Frieden says decrease was expected and that the worst isn’t over yet.

“We are seeing a decrease in the most recent week in some areas while other parts of the country, particularly in the west, appear to continue to be on the upswing since they experienced the flu this season more recently later in the season,” Frieden said.

The flu tends to be more detrimental to children six months or older. Each year nationwide, an average 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized as a result of contracting the flu virus.

“With the past eight years or so, we have monitored, recognized child or pediatric deaths from influenza. There are two more influenza associated pediatric deaths reported in the past week. That brings the total to 20 deaths this season,” Frieden said.

The best way to prevent your child from getting the flu is to have them vaccinated. Vaccinations can reduce your likelihood of contracting the virus by 60 percent or more.

The procedure usually involves scary shiny big needles but luckily for children there is an alternate way of receiving the flu vaccination and avoiding the needle. A nasal flu spray that does not contain any live viruses is administered to children up to age two.

“Vaccination is the single most important step you can take to protect yourself. Again, vaccination is far from perfect, but it’s by far the best tool we have to prevent influenza,” Frieden said.

While most of the country’s influenza activity bloomed one month early, California’s came in on-time.

Locally, effects of the virus can be seen in local grocery stores, shopping malls and on campus.

For the average college student, missing a class session due to an ailment can set you back a few days, or weeks.

With midterms approaching, class attendance is a must, and for some, sitting in an air conditioned classroom while under the weather isn’t the best approach to preparing for weighty tests.

In this case the solution comes before the problem. Taking preventative measures can keep you in the classroom, virus-free and operating at full capacity.

Some quick and easy strategies on how to prevent yourself from getting the flu are to stay at home if you’re sick, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

  • Flu can be passed by children 7 days after they are already sick
  • Adults can infect people 1 day before symptoms arise and up to a week after showing symptoms.
  • Symptoms: feeling feverish, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and fatigue
  • 2012-2013 flu season vaccine reduced the risk of flu-associated medical visits from influenza A (H3N2) by one half and from influenza B by two-thirds for most of the population.
  • Saltines with or without the soup is essential, chicken soup,and hot tea with lemon and honey are just a few things to indulge in if you have the flu

For more information on the influenza virus, visit CDC.gov/flu.

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