As most are aware, this year’s flu virus is the most widespread on record. Holzer Health System would like to share the following information obtained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to educate individuals on the flu virus and the necessary steps to prevent and protect our communities.

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets when people with the virus cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with the virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes or nose. People infected with the flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as when you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than five to seven days.

As shared by the CDC, flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Protect yourself and your family this season with these three actions to fight flu:

Get a flu vaccine. Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine. A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Receiving the flu vaccine also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, such as babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Take everyday actions to stop the germs. Try to avoid close contact with sick people, and if you become sick, limit your contact with others. When possible, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. If you are diagnosed with the flu, prescriptions medicine can be used to treat flu illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder, shorten recovery time, and may prevent serious flu complications.

Flu symptoms do vary from person to person. In general, people who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with flu will have fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults

If you or a loved one begin to exhibit these symptoms, please see your primary care provider for treatment. Individuals who are displaying flu symptoms are advised not to visit patients that are admitted on the Hospital units at Gallipolis and Jackson. “At Holzer, we strive to provide the very best care for our patients,” stated Rodney Stout, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Holzer Health System. “In order to offer the highest quality patient safety, individuals who are showing virus symptoms will not be able to visit individuals who are admitted for treatment and therefore have weakened immune systems. This allows us to safely recover our patients and keep the flu virus contained.”

If you have not received a flu vaccination this year, it is not too late. Holzer, along with the CDC, encourages all individuals age six months and up to be vaccinated against the flu.

For more information on the flu, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/. Holzer is a multi-discipline health care system of over 160 Board Certified and Board Eligible Providers administering care in more than 30 areas of medical specialties at multiple clinical locations throughout southeastern Ohio and western West Virginia. For more information, call 1-855-4-HOLZER.