Joe P. Asher
Local and state medical officials confirm the season of influenza is upon us, classifying it as widespread throughout the state and noting it appears to be hitting the younger population the most.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Health Alerts website defines widespread as “Outbreaks of influenza… and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.”
Harlan Physician Dr. Abdulkader Dahhan said the flu has struck children more than adults this year.
“The last couple of weeks, we’ve been seeing about three or four per day,” said Dahhan. “It’s been affecting primarily the younger population — children and teenagers. The flu vaccine does not seem to have prevented it.”
There are precautions to help stop the spread of the flu germs.
“It’s spread by respiratory secretions,” said Dahhan. “So, when I find somebody that has it, I usually take them out of school or work and advise them not to go out into the community.”
Dahhan advised that if somebody with the flu must go out, wearing a breathing mask will help to keep from spreading the illness to others.
“Hand-washing is always helpful,” stressed Dahhan. “The flu itself will get better on its own, but it can make you dehydrated if you lose too much fluid. If it goes to the respiratory system, it can make you get bacterial pneumonia.”
Dahhan said people with other health issues are at a greater risk of further complications from having the flu.
“If you are young and healthy, that should not happen,” said Dahhan. “If you have other health conditions like diabetes, black lung or emphysema, then they tend to be more likely to get these complications.”
Dahhan said flu symptoms include “bad fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cough.”
“Don’t put off being tested if you get the symptoms because you want to find out for sure if it is the flu or just a common variety cold,” said Dahhan.
Dahhan said there is a treatment for the flu, but testing is the only way to know if you require the flu treatment.
“There is medication that you can use specifically for it. It’s a medication called Tamiflu,” said Dahhan.
According to Dahhan, the flu seems to be more common this year than in the past.
“I’ve been practicing for 40 some years. We’ve been seeing more of it than less,” said Dahhan.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com