We have 23 days until Christmas. Christmas parades are being held throughout the area, and the weather is getting a bit chilly at times. We need to put on coats now, instead of light jackets, to fire up the furnace, and make sure the doors get closed behind us.
Many Sevier County residents have voiced their concerns about the lack of flu (Influenza) vaccinations. It is common knowledge that the elderly, very young, or those with chronic illnesses such as asthma, should indeed have priority to receive them before those who are young and healthy.
There is a general confusion about the difference between a cold and the flu. The flu is a contagious respiratory caused by influenza viruses. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the flu usually starts suddenly and may include these symptoms.
· Fever (usually high)
· Tiredness (can be extreme)
· Sore throat
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Body aches
· Diarrhea and vomiting also can occur but are more common in children
The common cold may have similar symptoms.
The CDC also gives some practical steps that we can use to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol based hand cleaner.
· Stay away as much as you can from people who are sick.
· If you get sick, stay away from work or school. If you are sick don’t go around other people and make them sick too.
· Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often spread this way.
There are some emergency symptoms that may require urgent medical attention.
In Children these are-
· Fast breathing or trouble breathing
· Bluish skin color
· Not drinking enough fluids
· Not waking up or interacting
· Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
· Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough
· Fever with a rash
In adults these are-
· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Pain or pressure in the abdomen
· Sudden dizziness
· Severe or persistent vomiting
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should go to the emergency room and tell them that you think you have the flu. You may be asked to wear a mask or go in another area where there aren’t as many people.
Christmas is a wonderful, joyous time of year. The Herald Newspapers wishes that it will be a healthy time of year for you.