The Flu Tops What's Going Around

The Flu - still tops the list of illnesses going around. Dr. Robert Beer in West Omaha says vaccination is the most effective means of prevention and despite what many people think, the benefits outweigh the risks. Because no vaccine gives 100-percent protection - it is important to take care of yourself. This means eating a proper diet, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest and exercise. It's also wise to avoid infected individuals for at least 5-7 days and stay away from crowded places where there is a greater chance of exposure. If you have flu symptoms: stay home, rest, drink extra water and take Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Small children, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions should contact their doctor as soon as possible to receive anti-viral medication.

Dr. Mindy Lacey in Midtown says Influenza is often confused with Stomach Flu - a virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. However Flu symptoms are: high fevers, muscle aches, dry cough and nasal congestion. People with the Flu also seem more tired and have a low appetite. The elderly, asthmatic children and children less than one year - are at a higher risk to develop serious problems. If they're lethargic, or appear to have difficulty breathing - they should see a physician. If anti-viral medications are taken within the first 48 hours of showing symptoms, the length of of the illness may be shortened and more serious problems prevented. To avoid the flu: practice good hand washing, avoid people with symptoms and get a flu shot.

Dr. Steve Sindelar in Bellevue says RSV activity is also picking up. He's seeing it in little ones: two to six-months-old. It tends to start with a runny nose - then develops with a cough. Rapid breathing, a decreased appetite or fever can also be symptoms. Doctors will want to see the babies, especially if they aren't feeding well and have that rapid breathing pattern. Breathing treatments may be recommended. It's also important to make sure babies stay hydrated and have wet diapers. This illness is worse in the fourth or fifth days, but will improve in one to two weeks. Dr. Sindelar cautions - parents should also watch for ear infections.

Dr. Carey Ertz in Millard says the Croup is also going around. Symptoms - which include nasal congestion, runny nose, hoarseness and barky cough - usually last a week. Take Tylenol or Ibuprofen for the fever. Doctor's also recommend a warm-mist humidifier - or running a hot shower for 10 minutes - then bringing your child into the steamy bathroom. Cold air can have the same affect. So stepping outside or in front of a refrigerator can also help. See the doctor if: Fever last more than 3 days, symptoms last more than a week, breathing becomes difficult, child has blue-tinged skin or difficulty swallowing.

About the Author...
Serese Cole
Serese is no stranger to the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas City and after years of moving from state to state - has called Nebraska home the last decade.

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