Flu virus 2013-2014 is in full bloom. Health cases are currently on the rise across the United States. Influenza has claimed the lives of three Indiana residents. The state of Indiana has released a health warning that the contagious respiratory disease is in effect from every corner of the state. Indiana has over 6 million residents.
These three reported deaths are the first of this flu season. The names of the victims and locations are prohibited by privacy laws. WTHR Fox 59 confirms there are no deaths in Marion County.
The Indiana State Health Department lists the symptoms of the flu:
• Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or greater
• Muscle aches
• Sore throat
State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess stated the“Flu activity is increasing around the state. The recent deaths remind us that influenza can be very serious and even deadly. I encourage all Hoosiers to become vaccinated from flu to protect themselves, their families and the community.”
Dr. VanNess makes a call to action, starting with the basics. The “Three Cs” are crucial steps to disease prevention.
• Clean your hands often with soap and warm water.
• Cover your cough and sneeze using your sleeve or a tissue.
• Contain your illness by staying home when you are sick.
The flu virus is contagious up to 6 feet away. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that coughing and sneezing infects other people in such a short distance. Certain groups stand a higher chance of being infected by influenza:
• Infants and children
• Pregnant women
• People with disabilities
• People with health conditions
• Travelers and people living abroad
Influenza lands citizens in the hospital, and serious complications could lead to death. The CDC presents a “3 Action” plan to combat the flu virus.
The first step advocates adults getting flu vaccinations yearly. Everyone 6 months old and older should receive flu shots when vacations for current season become available. High-risk persons must take vaccination as soon as possible.
The second step involves taking daily precautions to not spread germs. Keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth, and nose after touching surfaces and objects. They may be contaminated with influenza.
The final step is following doctor’s order of prescribed antiviral drugs. Research highlights 2 days as the most effective amount of time for treatment. People with high-risk health should obtain a prescription even if two days have passed.
Antiviral drugs may not work at all on infected persons. This is referred to as antiviral resistance. The FDA-approved medications fail to do its job in treating the flu virus because too many changes have taken place. Influenza is a changeable virus. Citizens cannot put a limit on the infectious disease as the impact of viruses differs from season to season.
Health professionals recommend oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®) as antiviral drug treatment for flu season 2013-2014. Ask a family doctor about these options.
What happens when people wash their hands long enough to sing the birthday song three times and still get hit with influenza? When feeling sick, stay indoors for 24 hours or more after the fever has subsided. Only leave if going straight to the doctor or for much needed items. As tempting as it may be to go buy that pair of jeans on sale, wait until the body is free of the virus. Do not risk infecting other people.
Caring for someone else with influenza can be challenging. Constantly clean all surfaces and make sure everyone regularly washes their hands. The goal is to keep the sick person at ease. Additionally, it is best to place the infected persons in a designated area away from other household members. High-risk persons should not be in charge of caring for the sick individual. Everyone must be alert and follow strict rules of cleanliness to prevent the spread of influenza and get the sick back to healthly as quickly as possible.
Indiana residents along with other citizens watch influenza spread its ever-changing virus across the county. The flu virus has caused three deaths in the Hoosier state and there is no telling how many more people will fall victim to the infectious disease. The CDC reminds everyone to follow the “3 Actions.” The plan includes getting vaccinated, staying germ-free, and taking prescribed antiviral medications. As the CDC saying goes, “It’s not too late to vaccinate!”
By Teria Seah