An Unwelcome Guest: Influenza is in Kansas City

There always has to be a first.  Our “first” came into the office last week. Fever of 104. Runny nose and cough. Muscle aches. Chills. Faintly red eyes. Poor kiddo looked miserable. 

He was the first case of influenza to be seen in our office this year. 

Unlike other milestones, this is a first that we do not like to celebrate. However, it does serve as a reminder for flu awareness and preparedness. 

What does the beginning of influenza season mean for your family?

1. NOW is time to protect yourself and your family from the influenza virus by keeping up your healthy habits.

  • Keep your immune system performing at its best by taking time for regular exercise, getting enough rest (yes, even during finals week), and eating a balanced diet. 
  • Help all your family members remember to wash hands after using the restroom and wash hands before eating. Teach little ones to scrub with soap until they have sung the ABC song, then rinse the germs down the drain. 
  • Get your flu shot. 

2. It is NOT TOO LATE to get an influenza vaccine. 

  • Although we have seen the beginning of this virus in our community, flu typically does not “peak” until mid-winter (Jan/Feb for us in KC). Getting the flu shot now gives your body plenty of time to create protective antibodies before peak season.
  • Please review my previous post on the flu shot for information about high-risk groups who should certainly be protected by the vaccine. 
  • As of now, it seems the strains chosen for this year’s vaccine ARE PROTECTIVE against most influenza we are seeing in our community. 

 3. If someone in your family does get influenza, don’t expect your doctor to prescribe any anti-viral medications unless they have other serious medical conditions. For otherwise healthy children and adults, anti-viral medications provide limited benefitand are associated with unpleasant side effects. 

4. Be ready if any member of your family gets flu-like symptoms this season. Grab my favorite items for cold and flu season next time you are at the store. Buying these items now just might save you a trip later. 

5. There are lots of ways you can find up-to-the-minute information as our flu season progresses.  Check out Google’s Flu Trends, or follow the CDC on Facebook  or Twitter

To find a flu shot near you, call your doctor’s office or check out this nifty flu vaccine finder

Together, we can all work to keep our family safe and well. Happy winter!