Friday, December 23, 2011

Doctors: Itís not too late to get protective shot


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Valley resident Butch Harper gets a flu shot last month. Say shoo to the flu Photo by Willy Cook

The flu can be a minor annoyance or a major health event. In either case, taking steps to avoid the virus is the best course of action.

Mary Jensen, epidemiology manager in the Twin Falls office of South Central Public Health District, said a few simple steps can reduce the spread of germs.

"Cover your cough, wash your hands often. If you're sick, stay home, and get the flu shot," she said. "Those are the four things you can do that will go far to prevent spreading illness in the community."

Ellen Schulz, pharmacist at Sav-On pharmacy in Hailey, said it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"Some people will get flu shots as late in the season as March," she said.

Others waited until even later last season, she said, depending on certain circumstances. People who travel to the Southern Hemisphere in our summer months might encounter the flu later; summer here is winter there.

Also, some flu strains are still active in summer.

"We saw flu going around this last summer," she said. "It was behaving very differently than what we've seen in the past."

Flu vaccines last less than a year, so getting one later in winter can extend protection into the summer months.

"We recommend people get them annually because the protection does start to wane," she said.

Schulz echoed Jensen's suggestions to avoid getting sick.

"The best way to avoid the flu is hygiene," she said. "Use sterilizing wipes at the store for shopping carts [as well as] hand sanitizers. Wash your hands and, of course, avoid people who are sick."

Dr. Dan Fairman, with St. Luke's Clinic, said commonly used supplements may provide little or no benefit.

"As far as 'boosting' your immune system, there is no known supplement or medicine that will reliably improve your resistance to infections," he said. "The most important thing you can do is exercise; cardiovascular exercise helps to stimulate your body's immunity to both viral and bacterial infections."

No one action can guarantee health, but precautions can boost one's odds of a flu-free year.

"The vaccine isn't 100 percent protection," Schulz said. "But it's the best thing we have for helping you avoid it, other than hygiene."

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com

<

Good to know:

What are signs/symptoms of the flu?

Influenza is a common infection. The signs/symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and weakness. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is uncommon in adults. Fever and severe muscle aches help distinguish influenza from cold virus infections.

What are possible complications?

Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections are three examples of complications from flu. Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop severe complications, like pneumonia, which can be life-threatening and result in death. Very old patients and very young patients are at higher risk for complications.

Who is at risk for complications?

People 65 and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), pregnant women and young children. It's especially important that the people at risk for complications get vaccinated.

Information provided by Dr. Dan Fairman, St. Luke's Clinic - Internal Medicine

Not all pharmacies have flu shots

Sav-On in the Albertsons store in Hailey and Valley Apothecary in Ketchum still have flu shots.

Karen's Family Pharmacy offered flu shots this year but it's exhausted its supply.

The Bellevue office of South Central District Health also is out of shots.

The Drug Store in Atkinsons' Market in Hailey did not offer flu shots this year but may next year.

Chateau Drug in Ketchum does not offer flu shots.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.