Everything you wanted to know about The Flu~ But didn’t know who to ask!

By: Deb Osuch, RN MSN

Caring NUrsing Hands | Home Care | Healthy Lving | AssonetLately it seems that you can’t turn on the T.V. without hearing reports on the local and national news about the flu. In some cities the flu has reached epidemic proportions, and many people are wondering how they can avoid getting sick.

Recently I sat down with the two public health nurses who work at Community Nurse & Hospice Care.  Kathy Bohan, RN, MPH is the public health nurse for the town of Dartmouth and Lisa Russell, RN is the public health nurse for the towns of Fairhaven and Acushnet. As part of our community outreach, Community Nurse & Hospice Care held public flu clinics throughout our communities in October and November. Community Nurse & Hospice Care has also partnered with local community resources and local businesses to help vaccinate people against the flu. Kathy and Lisa will help discuss ways that people can avoid catching the flu, or what you can do if you are caring for someone with the flu.

Deb:      Q. What is the flu?

Kathy:   A. Influenza (the flu) is a broad term for several types of contagious upper respiratory

infections caused by different viruses. The most prevalent current strain is called H3N2.

Deb:     Q. What are some symptoms of the flu?

Lisa:     A. The flu may cause symptoms ranging from mild to life threatening. Some symptoms include:

    • Fever
    • Tiredness/weakness
    • Severe muscle and joint aches
    • Dry cough
    • Headache
    • Sore Throat
    • Runny/stuffy nose

Deb:     Q. What is the best way to prevent myself or someone I love from catching the flu?

Kathy:   A. Flu vaccination is the best defense against contracting the flu.

Deb:     Q. The flu can be a life threatening illness, who is particularly at risk?

Lisa:     A. Some people are more likely to have complications if they contract the flu this includes:

    • Children 6 months through 18 years old
    • People 50 years or older
    • Pregnant women
    • People with chronic health conditions like diabetes, asthma, or heart disease.

Deb:     Q. Can I still get the flu if I have been vaccinated?

Kathy:  A. This year’s vaccine is highly effective against the current strain of influenza (H3N2) which accounts for about 70% of    the confirmed cases so far. Follow this link for CDC recommendations on the Flu

Proper Hand Hygene | Flu Season | Public Health Nursing | Home Caare | SwanseaDeb:     Q. How else can I protect myself and my family from the spread of the flu?

Lisa:     A. Hand washing is the #1 best strategy to prevent the spread of the flu.

 Deb:     Q. Are there any other helpful tips to prevent the spread of the flu?

Kathy:  A. Try to stay at least 3-6 feet away from someone that is coughing or sneezing, practice good coughing etiquette, cough    or  sneeze into a tissue, or if a tissue is not available use the inside of your elbow. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth as these are places where the flu can enter your body. Q. What are the best ways to care for someone with the flu? Link

Deb:     Q. How should I help my loved one who has the flu?

Lisa:     A. When someone has the flu they feel very sick and tired. They are achy, have a fever, and may get dehydrated. Here are some ways to treat those symptoms. Follow this link for helpful hints on caring for your loved one with the Flu.

Deb:     Q. When should I seek medical attention for myself or a loved one?

Lisa:     A. You should seek medical attention promptly if the fever lasts more than three days, the fever is extremely high: over    104.0, is having trouble breathing, is having chest pain, is having changes in their speech, is unable to walk, is unable to wake up, has skin that is bluish or grey in color.  Click here for a full list of warning signs that your loved one could need medical attention.

Public Health | Vacination | Flu season | New Bedford | Visiting Nurse

Deb: Q. If people have not been vaccinated, where can they get the flu vaccine?

Kathy:  A. Flu vaccines are widely available, through your physicians offices, walk in clinics and any place that has a pharmacy, and this includes grocery stores and other retail locations.






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