My small clinic has only been open again with our wonderful Megan Bailey, PAC, for a month, but we’ve already seen two people with influenza. And that is seeing less then ten people daily.
Please get your influenza shot. Yes, it doesn’t cover all of the strains, but most years it covers 80%. And initially Washington was seeing influenza B but now it’s influenza A and that has better coverage.
Remember that the vaccine takes up to two weeks to provide immunity. Consider wearing a mask if you have to go on an airplane — our second patient with influenza had gotten off an airplane that day. If you get a cold within one or weeks of getting the influenza vaccine, that is not caused by the vaccine. You are still at risk for influenza as well, especially the first two weeks.
If you have influenza, stay home and try not to expose other people. If you have frail or elderly or sick family, or very young children in the family, make sure that you get to the doctor early and see if prophylactic treatment is needed for household members who are exposed. If you are in the doctor’s office with any upper respiratory symptoms, put on a mask. That way you will not infect and potentially kill other patients.
Here is the CDC weekly influenza surveillance map: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm
You can watch it change color as the influenza crosses the country from east to west.
Please take care and Happy New Year!
The picture is the Solstice sunrise outside my house…