Flu Season: The Worst Is Yet To Come - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/11/06-Tyler

Flu Season: The Worst Is Yet To Come

Many East Texans have already come down with the flu, but the worst is still on the way. Even if you haven't had a chance to get your flu shots, it's not too late. There are two medicines out there that can help soothe the symptoms, if they are taken in a timely manner.

At least 30 million Americans get sick every year from the flu, according to the CDC. Dr. Stephen Rydzak of ETMC in Tyler says the best way to prevent the flu is the conventional flu shot.

"The risk of getting the flu if you didn't get a flu shot vaccine is high. If you are exposed to someone else who has the flu," says Dr. Rydzak. However, if you haven't gotten the flu shot yet, there are ways to protect yourself. "Try to avoid other people that are sick or have the flu. And the final thing is good hygiene, washing your hands," says Dr. Rydzak.

Washing your hands is the best way to keep yourself healthy. Dr. Rydzak says the most common way of contracting the flu is through respiratory droplets that are given off by people that are already affected. That's sneezing and coughing.

However, even a handshake can spread the germs. "If someone sneezes then covers their mouth with their hands and shakes your hand you can contract the flu that way," says Dr. Rydzak.

But if you do get sick, early treatment will may give you a little relief. "If you do get the flu and you can treat it within 24 hours Tamiflu. It's a good for reducing the duration and reduces the symptoms," says Dr. Rydak.

Doctors say if you don't take Tamiflu or Amantadine in the first 24 to 48 hours of flu symptoms, good luck. There is no cure for the flu and you can only wait it out. One final piece of advice, if you do get sick, stay home so you don't spread the flu.

We did check with local hospitals about whether they had flu shots available. In Tyler, all the hospitals we talked to say they still have the shots. The Northeast Texas Public Health District has about 100 shots still available. In Longview, Good Shepherd Medical Center still has the vaccine, but Longview Regional Medical Center does not.

Karolyn Davis, KLTV 7 News. kdavis@kltv.com

 

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