BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With the flu season right around the corner, the sneezing, runny nose, and other symptoms are already closing in, with positive cases of the virus popping up.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2017, the flu was blamed for killing 180 children and sending thousands more to the hospital. After such a severe outbreak, doctors in the Baton Rouge area say it’s vital for folks to protect themselves.
“We have seen a few positives,” said Dr. Anthony Martinez. “It’s always a concern. Every year, there’s a lot of people who get very sick from the flu. Most people weather the storm fairly well, but there’s a significant number of the population that’s at risk.”
Martinez, with Lake After Hours, tells WAFB they have seen some positive cases in the last few weeks. With the season usually from October to February, he says the time to get a vaccine is now.
“It takes about two weeks to get your immunity from the flu vaccine, so it’s definitely a good idea to get it before that time kicks in so you’ll already have your immunity on board,” he said. Sometimes, folks may not realize what they have is the flu because many of the symptoms are very similar to a common cold. Martinez says one of the most telling signs someone has the flu is how fast the symptoms develop.
“Common colds tend to come on more gradually, I think. A lot of times with the flu, it’s not uncommon for us to have someone come in and say, ‘This hit me like a truck, you know. I was fine four hours ago, and now all of a sudden, I feel terrible.'”
The most common tips to prevent the flu include frequent hand washing, limiting close contact with others, and coughing into your elbow, but one thing folks may not have thought about could be lurking at their desk at work. Martinez says it’s not a bad idea to regularly wipe down work areas between shifts.
“Cleaning up those areas that are shared, like common work spaces, can be very helpful,” said Martinez.
While there is no fool proof way to predict the flu or who will get sick, doing everything you can do to protect yourself is key.
“Everybody’s at risk in the sense that we can all catch it and spread it to other people, like our loved ones, our friends, and our coworkers, so it’s always best to take measures of prevention as best you can.”