• 72°

Flu season hits Pike County

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported that, during the week of December 17-23, the geographic spread of flu in the state was observed to be “widespread.”

According to Dr. Lenny Nasca, Troy Regional Medical Center, “flu is running rampant.”

“We have two strains of flu here, A and B,” Nasca said. “Usually, we see the A virus at the beginning of the flu season and the B virus in the latter part, more in the beginning of spring. But, we are seeing both — A and B.”

Nasca said those with the flu often experience fever as high as 103 to 104 degrees, aches, chills, weakness and headaches.

“You want to treat the fever first by alternating Tylenol and ibuprofen every four hours,” he said. “Check the instructions on the packaging to determine the recommended dosage for age and weight.”

Nasca said it is most important that a person with flu keeps hydrated.

“Drinking is more important than eating,” he said. “A person with flu may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. So, when you have flu, drink plenty of fluids, stay home and rest.

A person who tests positive for flu may be prescribed Tamiflu.

The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure can be applied to the flu.

Nasca said good hygiene plays a huge role in preventing flu.

“Wash your hand often and it’s good to use an antiseptic hand wash or cloth,” he said. “When you go into a business and use a shopping cart, take a antiseptic cloth and wipe the handle. When you go into public restrooms, don’t touch the handle on the toilet or on the paper towel dispenser or the doorknob with your hand. Use a paper towel or napkin and then throw it away. Use a wipe, a napkin or a cloth to handle anything that anyone else might have touched.”

Germs are passed along when phones are shared. Computer pads and, anything that has community use, can carry germs and pass them along.

Buffets are prime places for viruses to lurk.

“Think how many people have touched the serving spoons,” Nasca said. “When you go to a buffet, wash your hands before eating or use an antiseptic cloth or you could wear plastic gloves when serving your plate.”

The flu virus can be spread any place where people gather, especially schools and daycare centers where contact is close and there is community handling.

“Coughing or sneezing three feet or closer spreads germs,” Nasca said. “Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands because you touch with your hands and spread the germs.”

Babies with a cough should be monitored closely and medical attention sought if symptoms increase or persist. For most babies and young children, the infection causes nothing more than a cold but for a small percentage, infection with RSV can lead to serious problems.

Nasca said good hygiene is the key to staying well but, when the flu bug hits, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest and call your health provider within 48 hours for advice about what to do next.