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Health officials give prevention tips amid increase in flu cases

In the final stretch of 2017, the flu, or Influenza, has claimed a high amount victims, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the second to last week, the CDC has reported high activity in 21 states, including California.

Unfortunately, Santa Clarita is no exception as resident’s face the same increase.

“We have seen a rapid increase in flu cases in the second half of December,” said Ruben Esparza, a certified physician assistant at the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center in Santa Clarita. “More cases than comparative past seasons.”

Esparza pointed out that while getting the flu vaccine is helpful, proper hygiene is equally if not more important.

“The single biggest flu protection is proper hygiene, and cleaning hands and touched objects frequently.

“In the healthcare field, this is second nature, but many do not do so.”

The Santa Clarita native urges his fellow SCV residents to be evaluated within the first 48 hours of showing symptoms to “initiate possible antivirals before it’s too late.”

The CDC also lists the following flu prevention steps to avoid starting the New Year in bed:

  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
  • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high-risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
  • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
  • Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

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