By Carra Higgins
The typical start of flu season is still a few weeks away — late December to early January — but already in some southern states the flu is hitting hard, while in West Virginia the Department of Health and Human Resources has classified flu cases this week as “sporadic.”
Candance Hurd, director of nursing at the Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department and RN, said there has been very little flu activity in the area so far and current numbers do not indicate that this flu could be worse than others.
In order to keep the flu at bay, though, Hurd recommends getting the flu vaccination, which she says becomes more effective when more people opt to receive the vaccination. In addition to the vaccination shot, spreading the flu virus can be decreased by practicing proper hand hygiene, staying home when ill and disinfecting frequently touched items, such as light switches and computer keyboards. Those who develop flu-like symptoms should contact their primary care provider to determine if the illness requires special needs, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest, Hurd added.
She explained that flu vaccinations always contain three strands: two type As and one type B. Although the yearly vaccine is developed to combat the strand of flu that is predicted to circulate during the season, various strands of the flu do not replicate those in the shot. However, Hurd says the vaccine can provide cross protection for the other strands of the flu.
Even though a few cases of the flu have been reported in West Virginia, there is still time to get vaccinated. Hurd said after a person receives the flu shot, protection against the virus begins within two weeks — just in time for the start of normal flu season.
The Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department has the flu vaccine and is offering shots during regular business hours, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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