COLORADO SPRINGS – Flu season is picking up in Colorado. As of December 29th, 596 people have had to be hospitalized in Colorado because of the virus. Health care providers still insist the very best way to prevent the flu is to get your flu shot, and it’s not too late in this flu season for a vaccination.
Jean-Luc Houlne, a physician assistant with UCHealth Urgent Care, says even if you get a flu shot, you still need to make sure to practice the basic good habits of disease prevention. “It’s still strongly recommended to wash your hands (frequently) and cover your mouth when coughing. It takes two weeks for antibodies to build up (from a flu vaccine) so you’re protected from the flu.”
He also says there are a couple of key symptoms to be aware of of to know if have the flu. “Traditional symptoms of the flu are rapid onset of high fever, generally over 101.5, but that’s not a hard and fast number. Generally also body aches, muscle aches as well as cough and runny nose. The high fever rapid onset is one of the biggest indicators for influenza.”
It’s key to recognize those symptoms because getting to the doctor quickly can really help you fight it off, especially this year. Houlne adds, “If you are seen within a 48-hour window (of symptoms), we do have antiviral medicine that can be started, particularly Tamiflu. There are other medicines that can be used and these medicines if started with in a 48-hour window of the presentation of your symptoms do decrease the length of the illness. Recent CDC studies have shown the current influenza A virus we are seeing here in Colorado, H1N1,is not resistant to that medicine and that medicine is effective.”
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