The Times West Virginian

Opinion

January 12, 2014

What steps do you take during flu season?

So you’re sick. What do you have? A virus? A cold? The flu?

Do you have a 100-degree or higher fever? A cough and/or sore throat? A runny or stuffy nose? Do you have a headache and/or body aches? Chills? Fatigue? Stomach issues?

If you answered yes to these, you may indeed have the flu. It is, after all, going around the county. The Marion County Health Department has seen positive cases of the flu. In the first week of January, the county had 31 diagnosed cases of the flu. Of those cases, almost all were influenza type A, and many were H1N1, which is a strain of influenza type A. Marion County also had 107 reports of influenza-like illness.

Granted, those were just people who sought medical attention and were tested for the flu. Many, many people may have suffered through the “storm” at home using over-the-counter remedies, chicken soup and lots of tissues.

Haven’t been exposed? There certainly still risk, as the flu season lasts from October through March. And there’s also hope. It is not too late to get the flu vaccine. The flu shot is recommended for most people, but especially for children, people over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases.

And there are preventative things you can do, like practice good hand-washing techniques and regularly cleaning surfaces that are frequently touched. And if you’re sick, the best thing you can do is stay home or risk causing someone else the misery you’ve gone through.

We were curious about how our readers prepared themselves for the flu season. Last week, we asked our readers to respond to the following question on our online poll, which can be found at www.timeswv.com: It’s the flu season. How do you protect yourself and your family from the nasty germs?

And here’s what you had to say:

• I ought to buy stock in bleach and hand sanitizer. I am constantly vigilant about germs — 4.11 percent.

• I avoid those who are possibly ill and practice good hand washing and sanitizing — 32.88 percent.

• I get a flu shot and go about my life — 63.01 percent.

Regardless of how you prepare, try to stay healthy.

This week, let’s talk about stress. Some jobs out there are pretty stressful, and a recent report ranked them. Which professions do you think are the most stressful?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor

mpoe@timeswv.com

@MistyPoeTWV

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