Health & Wellness January Newsletter
One day you’re feeling fine, you might have a little tickle in your throat, maybe a slight headache. You go to bed early thinking you’ll be okay. Then morning arrives, you wake up and you feel terrible. Congratulations! You probably have the flu. I am sure everyone knows the flu is widespread across the United States right now, affecting hundreds of thousands of people and accounting for an increase in urgent care, doctor visits, hospital admissions, and flu-related deaths.
But you say you got the flu shot! I know, I know. Unfortunately, getting the flu shot (or as my daughter likes to call it, the not-getting-the-flu flu shot) isn’t a guarantee that you won’t still get the flu. So why didn’t it work? No it’s not some government plot to control people, or just another way for big pharmacies to make money. Each year the vaccine is made up of the 4 strains most likely to cause illnesses. This is based on extensive research and statistics that makes me thankful for immunologists, epidemiologists, and a whole lot of other “ologists”, so I don’t have to do all that work. The problem is these strains don’t like to play by the rules. Stupid germs. For example, over 80% of reported cases of the flu this year are caused by Influenza A, subtype H2N3. Now this nasty little bug likes to mutate a lot, and quickly, as it spreads from person to person. Therefore, the strain of H2N3 in the vaccine isn’t exactly the same as the strain floating around right now, since it mutated again after they created this year’s vaccine. Luckily, receiving the vaccine does offer you some immunity against the flu. Subsequently, while you may still get sick, you might not get as sick, meaning your symptoms may be less severe and have a shorter duration.
What do you do if you do get symptoms of the flu? Well, first off you can call your doctor. They might want to test you and if you test positive you can get Tamiflu, within the first 48 hours. This is an antiviral that will help your body fight the flu, lessening the severity and duration of symptoms. If it’s not the flu but something else, they can prescribe treatment for that too. But really all you can do is give it time. Antibiotics will not help, as this is a viral infection. You need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take Tylenol or Ibuprofen as directed for pain and/or fever. The most important thing you need to do it to STAY AT HOME! Seriously. DO NOT go to work, school, the store, or church. Yes you heard me right, stay home from church, Sunday school, bible study, you name it. God does not want you to spread your cooties when you’re passing the peace! We’ll pray for you during the prayers of the people. If you or a loved one (or even someone you just barely tolerate) start to experience trouble breathing, chest pain, display strange behavior, become confused, are difficult to wake, or stop making urine, (I know eww! But seriously, not peeing is a bad sign) call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. (Calling 911 is preferred for emergencies, treatment can start prior to arriving at the hospital and you avoid the waiting room).
If you’re one of the lucky ones and you haven’t come down with the flu what can you do? Support your immune system, by getting plenty of rest, eat a balanced diet, and try to get a bit of moderate exercise. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently and try not to touch your face, since germs enter your body through those pesky mucus membranes like your eyes, nose, and mouth. Also remember to wash your gloves and scarves frequently!
It’s not too late to get vaccinated!!! In recent years flu cases are still reported as late as May. Getting the flu vaccine will protect not just you, but your friends and family, neighbors, co-workers, and others in your community from contracting the flu and possibly developing serious complications. Pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and people with diminished immune systems are especially vulnerable at this time (and are all most likely members of our parish at St. David’s). Let’s all help protect our flock at St. David’s and get vaccinated!
As always, the members of the Health and Wellness Ministry hope you are all doing well and staying healthy. For more information on the flu please go to https://www.cdc.gov/flu/. We are available for non-emergent questions via email at email@example.com. For more immediate concerns always contact your personal physician.
submitted by Katie Sailors & Kathryn Howell