Palm Beach Gardens, FL (PRWEB) August 31, 2009
As one of the largest providers of Urgent Care walk-in medical services in South Florida, MD Now Urgent Care Centers are traditionally one of the first doctor's offices to receive the flu vaccine in Palm Beach County. Today MD Now Urgent Care's staff began administering the seasonal influenza vaccine to local residents.
Peter Lamelas, MD, the CEO and Medical Director of MD Now Urgent Care Centers, is a former ER doctor and Emergency Department Director for over seventeen years. He agrees with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta that this year could be the worst flu season the nation has seen in recent history.
"We have been seeing cases of Influenza A sporadically all summer," says Lamelas. "Unfortunately, about 90% of these cases were the novel H1N1 influenza virus known as Swine Flu. A new vaccine against novel H1N1 is under production, but we do not expect to have it until October. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the three seasonal viruses that research suggests will be the most common this coming flu season."
Although the seasonal vaccine will not protect you against novel H1N1 virus, the CDC is recommending you get your seasonal flu shot early this year, as it is the first and most important step in protecting against the seasonal flu.
"That's because this year", says Lamelas, "the CDC expects flu activity to rise ahead of the regular flu period and affect more people than a typical flu season. It's a serious situation. While the average seasonal flu generally affects and causes the most deaths among the elderly population, the swine flu has been affecting children and young adults most severely."
According to the CDC, the seasonal flu typically causes about 36,000 death and 200,000 hospitalizations every year, mostly among older adults and high risk groups. On Monday, the White House released a report that included estimates that another 30,000 to 90,000 people could die from the swine flu this season, about twice the number of people who typically die from seasonal flu, because people lack immunity to the swine flu virus. Early estimates from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology predict swine flu may infect half the U.S. population and hospitalize 1.8 million patients.
Who should get the Seasonal Flu Shot?
"Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu." says Lamelas. "This year the CDC recommends you get a seasonal flu vaccination and the H1N1 flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older."
Here are three steps you can take to reduce or prevent you and your loved ones from the adverse effects of the flu this season:
Step # 1 - Take the time to get vaccinated. The single best way to protect yourself and others against influenza is to get a flu vaccination each year.
Step #2 - Take everyday preventative precautions.
Wash your hands regularly and frequently with soap and water. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are also effective in reducing the spread of germs. Use disinfectants to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs, keyboards and telephones. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth places where the flu virus enters the body.
Step #3 - Take anti-viral drugs if recommended. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter and are different from antibiotics. If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. Antiviral drugs work best if started within the first 2 days of symptoms. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
For current updates on influenza and our flu vaccine status, check our website http://www.MyMDNow.com/flu frequently for current updates.
About MD Now Urgent Care Centers
MD Now Urgent Care Centers is one of the largest providers of urgent care walk-in and occupational medical services in South Florida. The company currently has six locations throughout Palm Beach County: West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, with plans to open two more locations next year. Owned and founded by Peter Lamelas, MD, MBA, the facilities are full service urgent care centers and provide a wide spectrum of services, including occupational medicine, drug and DNA testing, school physicals, work physicals, tetanus shots, flu testing, flu treatments, digital X-rays, onsite lab work, confidential STD testing, car accident and on the job injury medical care.
MD Now's urgent care centers provide an affordable alternative to the emergency room and a quicker and more convenient option than waiting for a doctor's appointment. Each location is open 365 days a year from 8:00am to 8:00pm, including weekends and holidays. At MD Now Urgent Care Centers, most patients are seen, treated and released in less than an hour. All major insurance is accepted and no appointment is necessary. A "Certified Urgent Care Center," by the Urgent Care Association of America.