Scripps Health Offers Tips as Flu Surges

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With cases of seasonal flu rising quickly, Scripps Health is reminding local residents of some basic tips for keeping influenza at bay and dealing with the illness if it strikes.

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The sudden surge of local flu cases this year might have caught some people off guard, but there is still time to get a flu shot.

With cases of seasonal flu rising quickly, Scripps Health is reminding local residents of some basic tips for keeping influenza at bay and dealing with the illness if it strikes.

“The sudden surge in local flu cases this year might have caught some people off guard, but there is still time to get a flu shot,” said Scripps Chief Medical Officer James LaBelle, M.D. “Vaccination, frequent hand washing and taking extra precautions around those who are ill are the best defenses against infection.”

People who are 65 and older, children under 2, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions (including asthma, heart disease, neurological conditions, blood disorders, a weakened immune system or are morbidly obese) face a higher risk of developing flu-related complications.

“If you feel ill, I’d encourage you to check with your physician,” Dr. LaBelle said. Scripps patients can call 1-800-SCRIPPS (1-800-727-4777) to make an appointment.

Flu season tips

  • Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting sick. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for enough antibodies to build up in the body to protect against infection.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Watch out for flu symptoms, which can include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
  • If you become sick, stay home from work and school to avoid infecting others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone without using fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Check with your doctor to see if you should be treated with an antiviral drug.
  • Avoid the emergency room unless you are suffering from more serious flu symptoms, which include trouble breathing or shortness of breath; chest or abdomen pain or pressure; sudden dizziness; confusion; severe or persistent vomiting; flu symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.
  • For children, seek emergency medical help if they are breathing fast or are having trouble breathing; have bluish skin color; aren’t drinking enough fluids, aren’t waking up or interacting; are so irritable they don’t want to be held; have a fever with a rash; aren’t able to eat; don’t shed tears when crying; have significantly fewer wet diapers than normal; flu symptoms improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.

ABOUT SCRIPPS HEALTH
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a nonprofit integrated health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 13,500 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, hospice and home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of physician offices and 26 outpatient centers and clinics.

Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research, genomic medicine, wireless health care and graduate medical education. With three highly respected graduate medical education programs, Scripps is a longstanding member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Truven Health Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) has named Scripps one of the top five large health systems in the nation. Scripps is nationally recognized in six specialties by U.S. News & World Report, which places Scripps cardiovascular program among the top 20 in the country. Scripps has been consistently recognized by Fortune, Working Mother magazine and AARP as one of the best places in the nation to work. More information can be found at http://www.scripps.org.

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Keith Darcé
Scripps Health
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