The Flu: Keep this Visitor Away!

The flu is visiting Florida, and January is midway to the height of flu season. What can you do?

For starters, wash your hands — a lot — and if you have the feeling that you may be coming down with something, stay at home as much as possible. A dinner invitation with friends is tempting, but no one wants the flu for dessert. For individuals with compromised immune systems or who are elderly or in general poor health, the flu can be deadly. So self-quarantine is the phrase-of-the-day if you don’t feel well or you’re just getting over a virus. Community effort on this front will certainly limit the spread of the flu bug around Ocean Reef.

An online survey by a national network of urgent-care centers called CityMD cited that of 2,067 adults queried, “as many as 90 percent of those who had flu like symptoms at the time, found that 3 in 5 people left the house during their illness.”

Flu is mainly spread via droplets. Anyone coughing or sneezing within a three-foot radius puts you at risk for catching the virus. Flu can also live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours. ATM machines, door handles, shopping carts, even our cell phones are a haven for germs. So wash, wash, wash your hands after every public contact. In a pinch, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are better than nothing. Most Publix grocery stores provide hand sanitizer wipes for cart handles (usually placed inside by the entrance door). It’s important to know that you can infect other people beginning one day before your symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick.

For a look at this season’s flu progress in Florida and nationwide, click here for a map published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and updated weekly.

Be prepared: Now’s the time to gather your supplies. In case you do get sick, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is going to CVS or Walgreens. Remember to stock up on water, sports drinks that help with electrolyte replacement, herbal tea, over-the-counter fever-reducing medications (ibuprofen & acetaminophen), cough suppressants, cough drops and boxes of tissues. Be sure that you have a thermometer; also, a cool-mist humidifier can be helpful and soothing.

If you haven’t had your flu shot, it’s not too late. The Medical Center has the most updated vaccine for this season’s flu. If you are coming down with something and you suspect it’s the flu, the Medical Center can have you tested. Contact us for more information.

Take precautions, stay at home if you’re sick, get your flu shot and stock some supplies. It’s the best thing for everyone!

  • Mark your calendar for the next lecture in our Medical Lecture Series. Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., Director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, will present a lecture entitled, “Preserving and Restoring Your Vision” on Jan. 30 at the Cultural Center Theatre. Click here for more details about Dr. Alfonso’s lecture and the rest of this season’s Lecture Series.