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Cover the coughs and wash, wash, wash those hands. Flu precautions have been on the minds of many St. Louisans, with influenza looming in the area.
Dr. Aunita Hill, of Missouri Baptist Medical Center and Sunset Hills Adult Medicine Clinic, says this year flu season seems to have come early.
This flu has been rumored to be different and more aggressive than in years past. Hill says this could be because some individuals might be sick with the fourth strain of Influenza B.
“The flu shot covers two A strains and one B strain, but this particular B strain might not have been covered,” she explains.
Hill says the influenza vaccine takes two weeks to take affect, but the vaccine does not cause individuals to become ill, as is a common myth.
“The vaccine does not carry a live virus. People can get a fever or a localized reaction, but cannot become sick with the flu from it.”
Hill recommends that if individuals begin to feel sick, they should see their doctor within 72 hours.
“It used to be a rumor that you could wait about four days before going to the doctor," she says. “The sooner you come to your doctor, the sooner we can get you the medicine you need to get better."
For those hoping to avoid the flu, Hill recommends constant hand washing and sanitizing. She encourages those who are ill to cover coughs with elbows or tissues to avoid infecting colleagues or peers. The best precaution, she says, is to simply stay home from work or school and seek medical attention.
“Younger patients might go home and take two to five days to get better, but those with other health problems will have a harder time. I really recommend people see their doctors as soon as possible.”