With flu cases mounting, prevention, hygiene are key
The new coronavirus has captured worldwide attention, with nearly 78,000 diagnosed cases in 28 countries and more than 2,300 reported deaths.
Yet for most of us, at least for now, it’s not coronavirus but the influenza virus that presents the most urgent health threat.
More than 3,000 cases of flu have been confirmed in Delaware this year, with nine deaths. Sussex County has confirmed 300 more cases of flu than at this time last year, and doctors say it’s still not too late to get a flu shot, the best way to protect against the disease.
Doctors say the vaccine targets three or four of the many existing strains of flu virus by boosting the immune system and producing antibodies that can significantly reduce flu symptoms.
In addition to the vaccine, one of the best defenses against the flu is lots of hand washing with soap and water. When that’s not available, use hand sanitizer, especially before eating. Use an arm, not a hand, to cover a cough or sneeze. In the office or the gym, use antibacterial wipes frequently to clean equipment and surfaces used by many people, such as railings and doorknobs, to curb the virus’ spread.
Many older people call the Cape Region home, and adults over 65 are among those at high risk for developing flu-related complications. Also at high risk are young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems and other underlying conditions.
People at high risk should not wait out the flu. They should call their doctor as soon as flu symptoms begin, and, if needed, obtain medicine to reduce the duration and severity of their symptoms.
Those who do get sick should stay home, drink plenty of liquids and not return to work until their fever is gone for at least 24 hours.
While medical teams and scientists worldwide work to stop the threat of the coronavirus, we can all do our part, here at home, to reduce the threat of the flu.