2013-01-15 / Front Page

Influenza-Like Illness Is On The Rise; Area Doctors Suggesting Precautionary Flu Shot

Vaccines Available At Doctor Offices & CVS Pharmacy In Spencer
Staff Report


J ama Pierce, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians, administers a flu shot to a patient in Gosport. 
(Staff Photo) J ama Pierce, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians, administers a flu shot to a patient in Gosport. (Staff Photo) The flu season is in full swing and local physicians are seeing plenty of cases of influenza-like illness.

At IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians in Gosport, Nurse Practitioner Sonya Ruedlinger said she and colleagues are starting to see more cases of influenza.

“The Centers for Disease Control suggests that everyone get a flu shot, especially people who have diabetes or whose immune systems are compromised,” Ruedlinger said. “Flu shots won’t make you sick, and they take about 10 days before they’re effective, so you should get one sooner rather than later. We’ve known it was coming for awhile, and with people traveling for the holidays, it’s reasonable to expect an increase here.”

Flu shots are available at CVS Pharmacy in Spencer and at local doctor offices.

The most recent weekly flu report from the Indiana Department of Health noted higher levels of influenza activity being experienced in several states. A total of seven deaths have been reported in relation to the flu since November, whereas no flu-related deaths were reported at this time in 2012.

“We are now well into what appears to be a somewhat severe flu season,” State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. said. “However, it is absolutely not too late to become vaccinated. If you have not been vaccinated this year, I encourage you to get vaccinated now to protect you and your family.”

The 2012-2013 vaccine protects against the three most common strains of influenza: H3N2, H1N1, and Influenza B. Health officials say that although cases of H1N1 and Influenza B have been reported, the H3N2 strain appears to be predominant. The 2012-2013 vaccine appears to be a good match for circulating flu strains.

“Typically, H3N2 seasons tend to be more severe, with a higher number of hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Larkin said. “Anyone experiencing flulike symptoms should contact their health care provider, even if they have been vaccinated.”

Symptoms of the flu in- clude:

•Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater

•Headache

•Fatigue

•Cough

•Muscle aches

•Sore throat

Flu vaccination is recommended for anyone six months of age or older. It is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu to become vaccinated. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems and the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that all health care workers become vaccinated each year to protect themselves and their patients.

Some other tips to help protect against the spread of influenza include:

•Clean. Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.

•Cover. Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or a disposable tissue.

•Contain. Stay home from school/work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading.

For more information about Indiana’s 2012- 2013 influenza season, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov.

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