The freezing cold isn’t the only harsh winter visitor to Georgia: State health officials are reporting a deadly flare-up of the flu.
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The Flu: What To Do
Q: If I had swine flu, am I immune?
A: Doctors recommend annual vaccinations anyway, for two reasons. First, there are always numerous strains of flu about, not just one. This year’s vaccination includes swine flu (really called H1N1) and three others. Second, even if you had H1N1, flu strains love to mutate, and some think H1N1 may have mutated just enough that some people are no longer immune to it.
Q: The season’s half over. Should I bother getting vaccinated?
A: According to public health doctors, if you are 6 months old or older: Yes, please.
Q: If I’m starting to get the flu, can I still get vaccinated?
A: It’s probably too late to help, at least for whatever strain of flu you have.
Q: So what can I do?
A: Catching it early and treating it or just taking care of yourself may make a bit of a difference. Listen to Grandma: Lots of juice, Vitamin C, chicken soup and rest, and if it helps, ibuprofen and Tylenol. For some strains of flu, some doctors may try drugs like Tamiflu, in hopes of taking 36 hours or so off the illness’s run time. Other doctors hold off for natural remedies. And cover your sneezes and coughs and stay away from other people to avoid spreading it.
Q: I’m not sick yet. What can I do besides vaccination to stay safe?
A: Be careful where you congregate and whose air you breathe. Wash your hands often with soap, and avoid touching your hand to your eyes, nose and mouth.
Q: Do antibiotics help?
A: Maybe with secondary infections that may arise, but not with the flu. The flu is a virus, not bacterial.
Q: What’s the difference between the flu and a cold?
A: Hard to say without a test, but probably the suddenness and severity. People with the flu feel those vise-like aches, chills and fatigue.