Flu Epidemic Affecting the Majority of the Country

The flu season has arrived early and with a vengeance, as the epidemic is said to be active in all but three states nationwide. Houston area health clinics have been busy vaccinating people and assisted living facilities are making sure their clients are not exposed to the virus.

 

 

The cold weather has driven many of us indoors, and with that comes the spread of the flu. As local hospitals deal with hundreds of infected patients, it's not too late to get a flu shot.

This year the flu shot strain for Influenza A was right on the money, but Texas internist Dr. Al Johnson says unfortunately, it doesn't help everybody.

"The vaccine does stimulate the immune system and can set up flu-like symptoms. Also, there are people that are egg-sensitive that should not take the vaccine, and can can have anaphylactic reactions to it."

He says patients should make sure they have no other complicating factors before they get a flu shot.

"In the past when we had a bad flu outbreak, the infectious disease people were discovering that people would then get a secondary bacterial infection, and it would actually have worse complications from the bacterial infections. So, instead of just telling somebody they had the flu, they would also treat them with an antibiotic to help combat any secondary bacterial infection the patient may have."

People with weakened immune systems and the elderly run a risk of infection, since there is no cure.

Steven Reiter is with St. Dominic Village, a senior assisted living facility in the Texas Medical Center.

"All license facilities, assisted living and nursing homes, must comply with the CDC guidelines for flu prevention. And in all licensed facilities you must either have a flu shot, or wear a mask while coming in contact with patients, and that has to do with volunteers, visitors and employees."

He adds hand washing stations equipped with hand sanitizers are located throughout their facilities. For those who want to treat symptoms naturally, Vitamin C, Echinacea and Zinc are a must.

Health and Wellness expert Judy Gamon says if you have time in the morning, she recommends this fruit beverage.

"We tell all of our patients that they need to drink what we call a 'green smoothie', and they need to have a couple of cups of mango juice, some blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and kale, put it in a blender, blend it up and drink it up every morning. It's gonna boost your immune system and keep you from catching bad viruses like the flu."

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that's filled with antioxidants that she recommends be on the eat list all year round. Flu symptoms usually last from 5-7 days, and it takes patients another 3-7 days to get back to 100 percent.

 

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...