By Vicki McKenna
Influenza, or flu, activity has increased significantly over the recent weeks in the South Lake Tahoe area. The majority of influenza cases this year have been typed as A(H3N2), a particularly nasty strain of the flu that has been associated with more hospitalizations and complications.
Do yourself, your family and your community a favor by recognizing flu symptoms and avoid spreading it.
Influenza is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and a nonproductive cough. Unlike the common cold, flu symptoms like fever and headache come on quickly. Each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Your best defense against influenza is getting a flu shot. Not only does this prevent the flu, it shortens how long you suffer from symptoms if you do get sick. There are plenty of vaccines available in the Tahoe basin at local pharmacies, and it is not too late in the season to get a flu shot.
Protect yourself using common sense measures – wash your hands frequently. If you suspect you have influenza, stay home. Get a diagnosis to confirm if you do have the flu by seeing your care provider immediately, or contact Barton Urgent Care at 775.589.8900.
If you do have influenza, antiviral drugs are available and work best when started within 48 hours of illness onset. Remember, healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning the day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick.
Vicki McKenna is the infection preventionist at Barton Health.