Flu virus: Valley doc gives do's and don'ts

Have you had it yet? We're talking about the flu.  The country is in the midst of a flu epidemic, and while it is not classified as widespread in Arizona, doctors say it's only a matter of time before the flu hits us hard.

Before it hits, you can arm yourself with a few good facts to cope with the flu.

Some tips from family medical doctor Martin J. Hernandez; do monitor yourself. Take note of your symptoms and take your temperature.

"A fever of 100, 101, 102 Fahrenheit is when we as physicians get concerned, and we start to think this can be the influenza virus versus your typical cold," said Dr. Hernandez. He says it's not too late to get a flu shot. "My mom has never been a believer of getting a flu shot for some reason, so I've never had it."

This year, there is a strain of flu going around that the shot is not effective with. Still, Dr. Hernandez says to get the flu shot to protect against two strains that are covered.

"It gives us 50 percent coverage, so  it's better than not getting the flu shot," he said.  And if you do get sick, Dr. Hernandez says to stay away from people. "I stayed away from people and stayed home one or two days."

The doctor says he knows there are bosses and companies that pressure people to get back to work quickly. Realistically, the flu could put you out of work for 7-14 days. He says resist the urge to go back to work before you are healthy.

"Health care providers, we feel that pressure. We know we got to get you guys back to work, but at the end of the day what we're trying to do is prevent the spread of the virus," he said.

Doctors also say you should drink plenty of fluids and take over the counter pain medications. It may seem self-serving, but Dr. Hernandez says getting to the doctor sooner than later can cut your misery. "Get in, and we can do a quick test, and we'll know right away if this is the bacterial versus viral," said Hernandez.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the following website for more information on the Influenza (Flu): http://www.cdc.gov/flu

Flu Resource Guide: fox10phoenix.com/flu
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