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Know Your Enemy: Influenza

| Categories: Miscellaneous

Whether you believe me or not, it is a crazy world out there.

I received an email from the trusted daily news of Texas Medical Association (TMA) about a “virus” that claimed the life of fifteen children last month. As a father who just celebrated his first son’s first birthday, I did not want to imagine the feeling of those parents who lost their innocent little loved ones. I was deeply saddened by those numbers, so I decided to read more about it. I went to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website hoping to see that the numbers were wrong or maybe the author meant those deaths happened in a third world country, or at least somewhere other than the United States. My wishful thinking did not last long. When I started surfing the website, I was really shocked. Apparently, those numbers were wrong, but not in a good way. The number of reported pediatric deaths in the United States for 2014-2015 is now twenty six. Five of those deaths alone happened during the week of December 29, 2014 through January 2, 2015. This reminds us that THIS VIRUS CAN KILL.

We all saw how the world mourned and marched together in a response to the barbaric, terrorist attack that claimed the lives of twelve people in Paris, France last week. But how about us, did we do our part to prevent the tragic deaths of those helpless children that died from influenza?

Make no mistake about it. Influenza does not discriminate against age or gender. It can attack anyone at any time. The CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting influenza (flu). The first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year. But if you get the flu, there are prescription antiviral drugs that can treat your illness. Early treatment is especially important for the elderly, the very young, people with certain chron¬ic health conditions, and pregnant women. Finally, everyday pre¬ventative actions may slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses that occur in the nose, throat and lungs. See below for everyday tips that will better equip you in fighting this nasty virus.

1. Avoid close contact with sick people.

When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Wash your hands often.

Washing your hands often will help eliminate germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. I challenge and encourage you to do your part. You will be happy that you did.

Ahmad Abazid, M.D.