The NC Department of Health and Human Services released new figures about the total flu-related deaths in NC – the count has increased to 114, with 15 new deaths during the week of Jan. 11. Adults 65 and older have taken the hardest hit this flu season; doctors recommend everyone get the flu shot, especially children, elder adults, and those with asthma.
This year’s strain, H3N2, is particularly dangerous, and a mutation of the strain has limited the effectiveness of the flu shot. However, doctors still recommend the flu shot because it can make a difference in many cases. Common complications caused by the flu are sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. The flu can cause inflammation around the heart, dehydration, and can worsen medical conditions like asthma and diabetes.
If you have a chronic medical condition like asthma or diabetes, talk to your doctor about preventative care, like the flu shot, and also about a management plan if you contract the flu. The CDC recommends influenza antiviral drugs for high-risk patients; antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms, reduce the amount of time you have the flu by up to two days, and can prevent complications like pneumonia. Antiviral drugs are most effective when administered within two days of getting sick, but using them later can still be beneficial. In addition to getting a flu shot, take other precautions like washing your hands frequently, and sanitizing common areas and office workstations with disinfectants. If you do contract the flu, it’s best to stay home to avoid spreading the illness to others.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…until you get the flu. The downside to the Holidays is that it coincides with flu season, and some unlucky individuals will have to skip some of the festivities in order to recuperate. The flu can cause more complications for the very young or old, and for individuals with diabetes, heart disease or asthma. If you have asthma, you’re at a higher risk of experiencing respiratory problems associated with the flu.
Individuals with asthma should get the flu shot each year as a preventative measure. Some people argue that the flu shot can make you sick or that the effectiveness of the flu shot is a gamble. Some individuals do experience short-term flu-like side effects like aches or a low-grad fever, but it could be their body building antibodies against the flu. It’s also possible that they were already coming down with the flu when they got the shot. Researchers track global flu viruses during the year to identify what will be the most effective combination of vaccines. Although researchers are thorough about developing the vaccine, there isn’t one vaccine they can develop that will work for everyone. But, doctors still recommend a flu shot as the best preventative measure against the flu.
If you do come down with the flu, call your doctor about how to manage your asthma symptoms so they don’t get worse. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine that will reduce your flu symptoms, and they may alter your asthma action plan to compensate.
Quite the stir erupted in September with the spread of a respiratory illness most dangerous to asthmatics and children. Doctors initially struggled testing for the disease since the Center for Disease Control didn’t have a recommendation for a test. As of Oct. 14, the CDC issued a press release about a new, quicker lab test. Initially we may see a rise in confirmed cases, but keep in mind this is due in part to the more rapid test results.
Most CDC-confirmed cases of EV-D68 this year have been among children, especially those with asthma or a history of wheezing. Doctors recommend frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of the disease, and those that contract the illness should avoid contact with others. There is no vaccine to prevent EV-D68, so these preventative measures are especially important in keeping the illness from spreading.
Enterovirus D68, a respiratory illness, has recently led to the hospitalization of hundreds of children nationwide. Prior reports included North Carolina in the list of states affected, but the N.C. Health Department and Center for Disease Control stated that there are no confirmed cases of D68 in North Carolina. However, since 12 states are reporting cases of the illness, North Carolinians should be diligent about preparing for a potential outbreak.
The virus is more dangerous to asthmatics and children, and these groups should see a doctor if they experience wheezing in addition to cold symptoms. Doctors recommend frequent hand washing; keeping hands away from the eyes, nose, and mouth; and staying home if you’re sick as preventative measures against the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, there isn’t a vaccine available to prevent infection, but those affected by the enterovirus should stay home from work or school and get plenty of rest and fluids.