Prevention still best medicine during flu season

It’s officially spring, but one of winter’s unpleasant features remains with us: It’s still flu season.

The New Mexico Department of Health advises that influenza B is still making the rounds, but that influenza A, the predominant form, is still actively circulating, too.

Strains don’t matter to the sufferer.  Flu is flu. It’s miserable and can stop you in your tracks. To the very young and many seniors, it can be life-threatening.

The flu has put more New Mexicans in hospitals this year than in previous years, the health department advises, nearly a third more than last year. For children under the age of 5, the  hospitalization rate is almost twice as high, and for adults 65 years and older the hospitalization rate is more than three times as high as this season’s overall rate.

The best advice is still prevention.  It’s not too late to get a flu shot.

The health department advises everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccination, especially if you
• are pregnant or have recently had a baby;
• have chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, lung or heart disease. A more complete list is here:

www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/
high_risk.htm

• don’t have a normal immune system;
• live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility;
• live with or care for persons at high risk for complications from flu;
• are a Native American or Alaskan native;
• are morbidly obese;
• work in a health-care field;
• are at high risk for serious flu complications, especially children under 5 years old and adults older than 65 years.

We encourage readers to contact their health care provider or local pharmacy to get a vaccination, if they have not already received one. Information is also available through the New Mexico Immunization Hotline at (866) 681-5872 and local public health offices.

Tucumcari’s public health office is at 402 E. Meil De Luna Ave. The phone number is (575) 461-2656.
Preventive measures also include washing your hands frequently and staying home when you’re sick, the health department says.

 

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Editor David Stevens and Publisher Robert Arrowsmith.

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