As cold and flu season revs up, protect yourself from potential illness

The cold and flu season is just beginning, which means more illnesses running rampant throughout the workplace, schools and home.

Trying to stay healthy during cold and flu season is a challenge, but physicians encourage you to take care of yourself to prevent potential illness.

In the U.S. last season, the C-D-C estimates there were nearly 43-million cases of the flu with more than 500-thousand hospitalizations and 61-thousand deaths it was a record-breaker as the longest flu season in a decade.

Protecting yourself is key. There are preventable actions you can take like getting the flu shot and staying proactive about not spreading germs.

Dr. Chris Wenger at Black Hills Urgent Care, says, “Stay hydrated, wash your hands, trying to avoid door handles and hand hygiene is huge throughout the year.”

If you do come down with the flu – there is no quick fix, but physicians can prescribe anti virals like tamiflu to help higher risk individuals decrease viral replication and reduce symptoms.

The common cold and flu share some of the same symptoms but the flu will present with a fever of over 101 and include body aches and a higher pulse.

Another virus going around this time of year is RSV- which causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract, common in infants up to age 2.

Dr. Wenger says that cases of strep have already shown up at Urgent Care, so if your pain is focused in the throat and presents with no cough it could be strep which can be treated with antibiotics.

Urgent Care now tests flu, strep and RSV at nearly 100% sensitivity, with a PCR machine which basically tests DNA. The new testing machines are up to 20% more accurate than the previous testing method.

The test is simple, using a nasal or oral swab and expedites the process, in turn improving the quality of results.

Wenger says, “[It’s] raising the standard of care and allowing you to detect things, … at an earlier stage than we may have been unable to previously with our other testing.”

Whatever your health concern, remember that for many conditions early detection can lead to better outcomes.

Categories: Local News, Wellness Wednesdays