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Weathering Flu Season By Vy Noel Noel Alonso, Alonso, MD, MD, FAAP, FAAP, After After Hours Hours Pediatrics Pediatrics Urgent Urgent Care Care

With the winter season upon us again, the flu will be back and ready to infect all in its path. The flu is still a common cause of disease in the population, particularly to the young and old, as well to those with impaired immune systems. The flu virus is usually acquired through contact with an infected individual and includes symptoms of stuffy nose, sore throat, a hacking cough, muscle aches, headaches and high fevers. Its incubation period, from exposure to onset of symptoms, is about 24-48 hours.

your child does not improve as expected or if you have any concerns.

For most people, the flu is no more than a bad cold, and symptoms usually improve within 4-7 days. For some, the cough may last up to 2-3 weeks. Treatment is usually geared toward improving the symptoms: for fevers, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) may be used and saline nose-drops may be given for stuffy nose. Seek immediate attention if your child develops any other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, vomiting or earache; or, if

If you or your child is sick with flu-like illness, Centers for Disease Control recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to receive medical care or for other necessities. This means that your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

It’s important to note that a fever is not necessarily a bad sign. Fever is our bodies’ response to infection. Some of our immune responses are actually enhanced by a higher body temperature, so fever, by design, is beneficial. Since our body temperature can range from 97 to 100.2 on a normal day, pediatricians only consider a body temperature above 100.5 to be a fever.

Of course, there are simple yet effective ways to help weather this flu season. Careful hand washing is of paramount importance. Wash your hands often with soap and water, and if soap and water are not accessible, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as germs spread this way. And teach your little ones to not touch their mouths, noses and eyes with unwashed hands. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Or, sneeze into your elbow to avoid spreading the germs.

Be sure to consult with your primary care provider for further information and read the Vaccine Information Statement. For the latest flu vaccine guidelines, visit

Get vaccinated. Many people wonder: when is the right time to get the flu shot? The answer is now. According to Centers for Disease Control, all people 6 months and older are recommended for annual influenza vaccination. Seasonal flu vaccines have a very good safety track record. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans have received seasonal flu vaccines.

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gattitown is the perfect place for your party! 52 • December 2012 • Pinellas

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Gulf Coast Family - December 2012 - Pinellas  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...

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