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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Learn how to protect yourself from flu virus

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 8, 2014 at 6:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 7, 2014 at 7:08 p.m.


Flu season is back, and it has hit Texas and the Crossroads with a vengeance. This virus comes back in varying forms and mutations every year but not always with the intensity we've seen this year.

Unfortunately, the season is far from over. In fact, according to the government website flu.gov, the season begins in October, peaks in January and February and can stretch as late as May. This year, some cases of the H1N1 flu strain have been reported. Thankfully, the flu vaccine for this season includes the H1N1 strain. We encourage everyone, especially those most at risk, to get the flu shot this season. The shot is available to anyone over the age of 6 months. The flu is often especially harsh on young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

According to flu.gov, the flu is spread when a person coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets containing the virus land in a person's mouth or nose, or the virus can spread when people touch infected surfaces and then touch their eyes, mouth or nose. To protect yourself from getting the flu, get the flu shot, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands in warm water. If you are caring for or live with someone who has gotten the flu, you can talk with your doctor about taking preventative anti-viral medications to reduce your chances of becoming sick. Residents should also drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat healthy foods and make sure to throw away used tissues to minimize the risk of becoming ill.

If you do become ill and think it may be the flu, seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent any complications. According to flu.gov, most adults should feel better within one or two weeks. Be careful and courteous of others if you are sick. The flu is contagious a day before symptoms develop and five to seven days after they appear in most adults. Always cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands often to help prevent the spread of the illness.

As the flu season progresses, we hope residents will remember to take the appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of illness. The flu is much worse than a common cold. Residents should do whatever is needed to prevent becoming sick. The flu is not an illness that should be treated lightly.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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