The Times West Virginian


January 20, 2013

Flu vaccine isn’t complete safeguard, but it’s best weapon we have against virus

It’s never too late to get a flu shot. And this influenza season is probably getting that message across more than any health professional ever could.

Flu seasons are difficult to analyze until they are over, but there are a few things that doctors and scientists have determined so far. The season began about a month early — what normally hits in the middle of January arrived in mid December. Forty-eight states have reported widespread influenza activity, though it’s starting to wane in some areas.

In West Virginia for the past five weeks in a row, the number of confirmed flu cases is higher than the baseline established. If you look at the last decade of flu seasons, there are usually about 12 weeks when cases are higher than the baseline.

So if that holds true again this year, there could be up to two more months of flu activity.

There’s nothing truly remarkable about this flu season in West Virginia — unlike larger metropolitan areas — other than it hit earlier. But what is remarkable is that 97 percent of reported cases are, in fact, one of the three strains the flu vaccine immunizes against. And while the flu vaccine isn’t a complete safeguard, it is the best weapon we have against the virus.

And we encourage people to attend clinics offered through the Marion County Health Department or pharmacies, or ask your health-care provider where to get a dose. It is far easier to take a few minutes to stop and get a flu shot than to spend a few days in bed with the flu and a few more weeks recovering from the effects.

Also during this season, we encourage people to practice a little common sense. Wash your hands regularly, and when you’ve come in contact with high-traffic public areas. If you feel ill, seek the advice of your doctor. If you test positive for the flu, within 48 hours you can take anti-viral medication that can lessen the severity and duration of symptoms. Also, it’s a good idea to keep ill children home instead of sending them to school, daycare, activities or out in public, as well as yourself.

And since the flu hits the elderly hardest, please keep in contact with relatives, friends and neighbors who may be under the weather to make sure they don’t need advanced medical care.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control say that next year’s batch of flu vaccine will be larger and be based on the current flu season. Anti-viral medicine, like Tamiflu, will also be produced in greater volume.

But while we’re still enduring the 2013 flu season, remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Stay healthy, Marion County.

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  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

  • Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past

    Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
    Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.

    July 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?

    I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
    “Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
    I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.

    July 13, 2014

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