Flu season is in full swing — here’s how to stay healthy

By StGeorgesUniversity
January 18, 2018

America is in the midst of one of its worst flu seasons in recent history. Already, more than 100 people have died from the disease.[1]

It’s possible for people to greatly decrease their chances of catching the virus. Doctors — particularly those in primary care fields — need to teach patients how to do so.

The flu is wreaking havoc nationwide. Compared to this time last year, Ohio has logged nearly 2,000 more flu-related hospitalizations.[2] In California, some pharmacies are short on flu medications.[3] Hospitals in several states have been overwhelmed with flu patients, and had to transfer folks elsewhere.[4] Nationwide, the disease has claimed the lives of more than a dozen children.[5]

In addition to these health woes, the flu is very costly — both for patients and the country. Flu patients generally spend $130 on medication and trips to the doctor.[6] In total, the country spends more than $17 billion annually on medical expenses, sick days, and lost productivity caused by the flu.[7]

Groups at increased risk include healthcare workers, patients with chronic diseases or undergoing chemotherapy, young children, and the elderly. These people should pay close attention to their health and seek care at the earliest sign of complication. 

There are several steps folks can take steps to combat this illness.

For starters, Americans who haven’t gotten a flu shot already should do so. While this year’s shot hasn’t been the most effective, it can still lessen the severity and length of the illness.[8]

People should also wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their eyes, mouth, and nose.[9] If folks do feel ill, they should keep contact with others to a minimum.[10]

Exercising regularly, drinking plenty of fluid, eating well, and getting enough sleep can help ward off the flu.[11]

Doctors, especially primary care providers, are well-positioned to communicate these tips to patients — and stress the importance of following them. Here at St. George’s, three-quarters of our medical students begin their careers in primary care.[12] So we make sure our doctors have the tools to help patients dodge the flu and other illnesses.

This year’s flu is incredibly dangerous. Doctors must ensure patients know how to avoid it.

 

[1] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/defending-against-this-seasons-deadly-flu-5-things-to-know

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/01/09/deaths-and-hospitalizations-rise-flu-season-hits-full-swing/1017898001/

[3] http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/09/health/california-flu-season-deadly-bn/index.html

[4] http://healthcare.dmagazine.com/2018/01/08/flu-season-continues-straining-north-texas-healthcare-providers/

[5] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/01/09/deaths-and-hospitalizations-rise-flu-season-hits-full-swing/1017898001/

[6] https://nypost.com/2018/01/09/why-this-years-flu-season-is-so-bad/

[7] https://nypost.com/2018/01/09/why-this-years-flu-season-is-so-bad/

[8] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/defending-against-this-seasons-deadly-flu-5-things-to-know

[9] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

[10] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

[11] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

[12] http://www.sgu.edu/academic-programs/school-of-medicine/facts-and-figures/

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