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The NSPA Blog

Flu Outbreak 2018 (and what you can do to stay healthy)

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Posted on January 15th, 2018 by Teri Dreher, under Nutrition, Patient Tools

We’re two weeks in, and 2018 already feels like a whirlwind of a year. Aside from the chaos that ordinarily comes with kicking off a new year, our country is seeing a severe flu outbreak. Currently, there are over 60,000 laboratory-confirmed cases with every state in the union (with the exception of Hawaii) being affected. Alabama has even declared a public health emergency over the flu. So, what’s with the outbreak?

 

Sometimes a flu shot isn’t enough 

We posted a blog a few months ago reminding our followers to get their flu shots. If you haven’t had one yet, we still recommend getting it. Unfortunately, though, this year’s flu shot isn’t as effective as other years. When researchers design a flu shot for an upcoming season, they’re basically making an educated guess about what strains will be active in a given year. It’s not like they’re taking a shot in the dark, but they can never be exactly sure what sort of strain will be most active. This year, we’re seeing the H3N2 strain most prominently. The bad news is this strain is particularly resistant to the flu vaccine and leads to more severe symptoms when people are affected.

What to do about it – whether you’ve got it or not

Since the H3N2 strain is severe, the important thing is to get yourself to a doctor if you’re feeling sick. Because of the outbreak we’re seeing now, hospital ERs are packed (and most likely full of germs). Seeing your primary care doctor or even going to an urgent care clinic as soon as you start feeling symptoms is probably the best move. Still, if it hits you hard and you feel really sick, the ER is an option. To prevent it from being an issue in the first place, we recommend going back to advice we got from our mothers. Get the flu shot. Even though this strain is resistant, getting the flu shot will still lower your risk by about 30%. On top of that, practice healthy hygiene. Wash your hands anytime you come into potential contact with germs. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Lastly, drink water and eat healthy meals! Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your body. Additionally, fueling it with proper nutrients is key for supporting your immune system.

 

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns about this post.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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