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Flu Prevention And Treatment
December 27, 2013

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox Flu season is expected to peak in January and February, and there certain groups of people more at-risk than others for getting the flu.

Dr. Nikki Ward, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Health at the Marshall University School of Medicine, said elderly people are one of those groups.

"Their immune system is lower than a normal person, the same thing with pregnant women and they are at higher risk sort of for having more severe complications, and kids are at higher risk too just because they haven't built up that immunity yet," she said.

Sometimes, it's difficult to tell the difference between a common cold and the flu virus, but if you're experiencing any combination of runny nose, nasal congestion, headaches, cough, fever or vomiting, you should check in with your doctor.

"If we can test you and find that you are positive for flu, not only is that reportable to the CDC, but also if you're within a 48 hour window, we might be able to treat you with a medicine that will decrease the severity and the length of your illness," Ward said.

Treatment can vary from a medicine like Tamiflu to TLC.

"You can do anything from symptomatic care which is just good old chicken and increasing your fluids and rest," Ward said.

If you test positive, you can easily pass the virus to others. "We want to try to keep the spread of the illness to a minimum, so good hand washing, stay at home," Ward said.

Hand washing can be the most effective way to prevent the spread, but flu shots have proven the most effective way to prevent the it.

"Everyone should get a flu shot," Ward said. She said it takes about two weeks for full immunity, so it's not too late.

Marshall Health has evening clinic hours 4 p.m.- 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Marshall University Medical Center location at Cabell Huntington Hospital. The clinic in on the first floor and walk-ins are welcome.


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