Protect your family from the flu

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 24, 2017

It may not be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get the flu.

In fact, we’re in the peak of flu season. While many of us have opted to go the extra mile to protect ourselves and our families by getting a flu shot, not everyone is as diligent.

That means there are people out there coming down with the dreaded illness. Some of those victims of the annual illness are children, meaning parents are not only caring for their sick family members, but also putting themselves at risk.

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The Mississippi Department of Health has several suggestions to make it through the rest of the flu season. First and foremost, if you haven’t already done it, get the flu shot. While the MSDH no longer offers flu shots to adults with

health insurance, any pharmacy in the area can provide that level of protection. Flu shots can be administered to any person older than six months, and they protect a person from almost every strain.

There is one advisory though when protecting yourself and your family from the flu.

This year the health department suggests staying away from the nasal spray vaccine, also known as the live attenuated influenza vaccine. Instead, opt for the inactivated vaccine or recombinant vaccine.

If for some reason you’ve been unfortunate enough to have come down with the flu, be aware of the medicines you intend to take. Several medicines contain similar ingredients.

While you may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce a fever, keep in mind other medications also contain those ingredients, such as Theraflu.

Also, avoid antibiotics. This treatment does not have an effect on the flu, which is caused by a virus. Taking antibiotics when it’s not needed puts a person at an increased risk of getting an infection resistant to antibiotic treatment.

However, a doctor may be able to prescribe an antiviral treatment plan, which can reduce the severity and longevity of the flu.