Monongahela Valley Hospital Flu Advisory
(Dec. 9, 2012 — Carroll Township, Pa.)
With flu cases filling physicians’ offices and emergency departments this winter, how soon should a person seek medical treatment and how does one know if a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms is indeed the flu?
A simple swab test available at Healthy Directions Exclusively at Giant Eagle in Finleyville can tell patients if they’re infected with the flu virus, and more importantly, squeeze them into that narrow window to treat the flu with antiviral medications like Tamiflu that alleviate suffering.
“With this serious surge in flu cases, antiviral medication needs to be initiated within the first 48 hours to produce the most benefit, so it’s important to know for sure,” said Clinical Lead Michelle Antanovich, CRNP - Family Medicine. “We offer flu vaccinations ($20) and the swab that tests for this year’s strains of the flu ($25); both are covered by most insurance.”
Antanovich said flu symptoms include a feeling of being ill with no energy; sudden fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, post nasal drip, chest discomfort due to a dry cough; nasal congestion, ill appearance with warm, flushed skin; red, watery eyes, and body aches.
“A person does not necessarily have to have all of these symptoms,” she said. “The flu is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes in close proximity to uninfected bystanders; the illness may appear in as little as two days after exposure.”
The vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body two weeks after the vaccination is given and the flu shot contains an inactivated — or killed — virus. Anyone 18 months or older is encouraged to receive this immunization.
The staff of Healthy Directions, affiliated with Monongahela Valley Hospital, is available at the Finleyville Giant Eagle site Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call with any questions at 724-348-6699.
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website www.cdc.gov/flu. The section on “Flu Activity and Surveillance” provides weekly updates on the flu’s severity in the United States.
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