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Seasonal Flu Activity Mild for Now

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Flu, Memorial Medical Center | Posted on 25-01-2016

Sick-Woman-Taking-TemperatureChances are this time last year, you or someone you know had already come down with the dreaded flu symptoms. The tired, achy, feel-like-you’ve-just-been-hit-by-a-train kind of feeling. This year, that’s probably not the case. While the standard cold viruses continue to circulate around central Illinois, flu activity is reasonably low.

But don’t celebrate just yet. We’re likely not escaping a regional flu outbreak, it’s just delayed. Read the rest of this entry »

Fight the Flu. It’s the Right Thing to Do.

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Flu, Physician Services | Posted on 02-12-2015

Flu-vaccinationThe flu vaccine can be an emotionally charged topic. While medical experts say it’s the single best way to prevent the flu, others question its effectiveness and worry about potential side effects.

So what’s the bottom line?

Influenza kills thousands of people each season—140 children just last year—according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s invisible, highly contagious and often is widespread during the winter months. Yes, the vaccine missed the mark last year after the predicted strains mutated. However, getting vaccinated is still the most effective way to keep your family safe, according to trusted medical experts. Read the rest of this entry »

You Don’t Want to Mess Around with the Flu

Posted by | Posted in Flu, Memorial Medical Center | Posted on 15-12-2014

Flu-infographic-eblast-imgSuffering from the flu is a costly and potentially dangerous experience, which is why getting vaccinated against the influenza virus is so important.

“Some people think the flu is like a common cold, but really, the flu is a lot worse than that,” said Raj Govindaiah, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Memorial Health System. “Anyone can suffer from serious complications of the flu, and the illness can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.”

Common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue. Dr. Govindaiah cautions people not to believe the pervasive flu myth that vaccinations actually cause the flu.

“You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine,” he said. “The injection contains dead vaccine. It can’t cause the flu. The inhaled nasal spray contains inactivated or weakened live virus and is also safe.”

To protect yourself from this year’s flu virus, visit your local healthcare provider for a flu vaccination as soon as possible. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Not Too Late to Protect Yourself Against the Flu

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, ExpressCare, Flu | Posted on 14-02-2014

flu vaccineWe’re in the middle of an especially active flu season—one we hope is almost over. However, it’s not time to call the “all clear” yet. Stay vigilant against the flu for a healthy late winter and early spring. Here are three things you can do to guard against the flu:

  • Get a flu shot.

Though we are in the midst of flu season, you can still get a flu shot to protect yourself against the flu virus.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that while flu season usually peaks in January or February, it is not too late to get a flu shot. According to HHS, if you get the flu vaccine you are 60-percent less likely to need treatment for the flu by a healthcare provider. Getting the vaccine has been shown to offer substantial other benefits, including reducing illness, antibiotic use, time lost from work, hospitalizations and deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

Proper Hand-washing: It Takes Time

Posted by | Posted in Flu, Winter | Posted on 14-11-2013

Bacteria cultured include Staph and Bacillus. Multiple viruses also detected, but do not visibly grow on culture plates.

Bacteria cultured include Staph and Bacillus. Multiple viruses also detected, but do not visibly grow on culture plates.

That quick wash of a few seconds with soap and water may not help as much as you think – as these three photos reveal. Each photo shows the bacteria growing in a Petri dish after a volunteer pressed his hand into a layer of gel in the dish.

The first dish reveals the germs found on an unwashed hand. The second dish shows the bacteria growing on the same hand after washing for a few seconds with soap and water. These two dishes show remarkably similar amounts of bacteria.

“The second dish demonstrates the need to wash hands thoroughly to remove the bacteria from your hands,” said Karen Trimberger, director of infection prevention at Memorial Medical Center. “Proper hand-washing takes time – at least 15 seconds – and friction.”

The third dish features the same volunteer’s hand after he washed and scrubbed his hands for 15 seconds before rinsing. This plate uncovers vastly fewer germs. Read the rest of this entry »

Stomach Flu vs. Seasonal Flu: Know the Difference

Posted by | Posted in Flu, Physician Services | Posted on 17-10-2013

200214561-001It’s common to hear the term “flu” this time of year. October marks the beginning of flu season, and vaccines are now available at your doctor’s office as well as retailers around town. But as you take steps to protect your family this season, learn the difference between the often confused stomach flu and seasonal flu.

Both the stomach flu (gastroenteritis) and seasonal flu (influenza) are caused by a virus. Peak months for influenza are usually October through March, but you can catch the stomach flu any time of the year. While they share some symptoms like fatigue, muscle aches and fever, they are completely different illnesses.

Avinash Viswanathan, MD, a physician at Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill who is often referred to as “Dr. Avi,”outlines the differences between the two: Read the rest of this entry »

Questions and Answers about Influenza

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Flu, News, Physician Services | Posted on 15-01-2013

As more and more central Illinoisans fall victim to the flu, it’s important to understand the nature and symptoms of the flu while taking the proper precautions to prevent the spread of infection. Below are answers to commonly asked questions about the flu. Information is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Q: What, exactly, is “the flu”?

A: Influenza (or, “the flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. In the United States, on average 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe.

Q: How can I prevent coming down with the flu?

There are three very important things you should do: Read the rest of this entry »

Arm Your Children – and Yourself – Against the Flu

Posted by | Posted in Flu, News, Pediatrics, Physician Services, Winter | Posted on 08-01-2013

Flu season has struck early, including in Illinois, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported high influenza-like illness (ILI) activity in recent days, and this year’s peak is not yet in sight.

Flu activity likely will continue for some time. Your best defense against the flu is to receive your annual flu vaccination, which thus far appears to be well matched to the dominant stains of influenza being seen this year, the CDC reports.

It’s not too late to receive the flu vaccination to protect yourself and your loved ones, especially if you have young children who have not yet been protected. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Tell if That Sore Throat is a Virus or Strep

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, ExpressCare, Flu, Physician Services, Winter | Posted on 27-11-2012

As cold and flu seasons settles in for the long winter ahead, instances of sore throat begin to pop up more frequently — but how do you tell if that achy throat is caused by a virus or strep?

Many people automatically think that their painful sore throat is due to strep. But according to Calvin Bell, MD, FAAEM, director of Memorial’s ExpressCare clinics, most sore throats are caused by viruses and not the streptococcal (strep) bacteria.

“The symptoms of sore throat from viral causes are very similar to those of strep throat,” Dr. Bell said. “They consist of throat pain, difficulty swallowing and sometimes difficulty speaking.”

Viral infections may be distinguished from strep infections if Read the rest of this entry »

Flu Season Is Here – Are You Ready?

Posted by | Posted in Flu, Physician Services, Winter | Posted on 08-10-2012

The temperatures have dropped, and the leaves are changing colors. Two good signs the flu season has arrived.

Because influenza viruses are constantly changing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination for protection against the flu. The flu vaccine is commonly available as early as September, and throughout the flu season, which generally ends in early May. It usually takes about two weeks for the vaccine to work, and its protection will last throughout the flu season.

This vaccine is given as an injection into the arm or thigh muscle, which is known as an intramuscular (IM) injection. The vaccine contains an inactive, or killed, virus so it is not possible for someone to get the flu from the vaccine.

There is also a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine available.

In this video, watch Rajesh Govindaiah, MD, Memorial Health System’s Chief Medical Officer, provide more information about the flu and its symptoms and the benefits of getting a flu shot. Read the rest of this entry »