Is your family ready for flu season?

Are you ready for flu seasonFrom cooler temperatures to pumpkin pie, we welcome many things that come with the fall season, but the flu is not one of them. Dr. Katherine Leitner, a TMCOne provider at TMC Rincon Health Campus, provides some important pointers to best prepare families for flu season.

How should a family prepare for flu season?

The most effective preventative measure is a flu vaccination. Everyone in the family should get a flu shot.

If experiencing flu-like symptoms:

  • cover your mouth when coughing
  • avoid touching your face
  • wash your hands with soap and water frequently
  • disinfect surfaces you come in contact with
  • and stay at home for at least 24 hours

When should you get a flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends receiving a flu vaccine in October. Even if you did not receive the flu shot in October, it is still beneficial to obtain one throughout the flu season which can run through January or later. It is also important that everyone get the flu shot yearly, because the flu strain changes from year to year.

What about vitamin C and a healthy diet?

Studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C during a cold does not actually improve the outcome or decrease the duration of illness. However, it is always important to stick to a healthy diet so you can build a good immune system for when you do get sick. During an illness, drinking lots of fluids and staying hydrated is very important.

What should you do if a child is showing flu symptoms?

Make an appointment with your child’s health care provider right away. The provider can test for the flu and treat it with a medication if caught early. To prevent the spread of illness, keep your child out of school until he or she is feeling better.

Who should get the flu shot?

Dr. Robert Jacobson, a pediatrician with Mayo Clinic, says, “The latest recommendations from the CDC reaffirm that all of us are at risk for catching and spreading the flu, and all of us should get our flu shot this fall. Very few of us cannot get the vaccine. Our getting the vaccines protects them, too.”

Influenza vaccine recommendations for the 2017-18 season include these updates and changes:

  • Afluria Quadrivalent and Flublok Quadrivalent are now available for patients 18 and older.

  • FluLaval Quadrivalent may be given to children as young as 6 months. Previously, administration was limited to children 3 and older.

  • Pregnant women may receive any age-appropriate flu vaccine that is approved and recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • FluMist Quadrivalent should be not should not be used during the 2017–2018 season due to concerns about its effectiveness against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses in the U.S. during the 2013–2014 and 2015–2016 influenza seasons.

The CDC continues to recommend vaccination for all people aged 6 months and older without contraindications, preferably by the end of October. For those aged 65 and older, the CDC says standard-dose or high-dose vaccine is acceptable.
As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Tucson Medical Center works directly with Mayo Clinic, the nation’s No.1 hospital according to U.S. News & World Report. Our doctors get access to Mayo Clinic knowledge and resources, and you get the best care, close to home.

For information on how to protect infants under 6 months from the flu see this TMC for Children post.

Dr. Leitner is a TMCOne provider at the TMC Rincon Health Campus, near Drexel and Houghton.


TMC seeing an influx of flu patients, same-day primary care appointments available

BDP31676Winters are busy times for local hospitals because of the influx of winter visitors combined with flu season.

Dr. Rick Anderson, vice president and chief medical officer at TMC, said this year’s flu epidemic seems to be more widespread in Arizona, and the virus is proving to be especially nasty. “We’re seeing the H1N1 virus, which seems to affect younger patients,” he said.

“Respiratory issues are the biggest reason children are being admitted. Flu typically affects the very young and the very old, but this year’s strain is also infecting young adults to the point where their symptoms can’t be managed as an outpatient, and they have to be admitted to the hospital with respiratory issues. Some of these patients – in their 20’s and 30’s – have been admitted to the intensive care unit because of the severity of the virus. We’re also finding some patients being diagnosed with pneumonia on top of the flu.”

Flu symptoms and when to seek emergency care:
▪ Flu symptoms include: fever, body aches, headache and a cough.
▪ If you are young and healthy, but you are not short of breath, contact your primary care physician and do your best to manage your symptoms at home.
TMC One logo ▪ If you don’t have a primary care physician, or you can’t get in to see yours, TMC One offers same-day appointments with TMC One providers, including Dr. William Abraham, a board-certified internal medicine physician with more than 30 years of experience. His office is located at 1396 N. Wilmot Road. Call (520) 324-2160 to make an appointment.
▪ Your doctor may prescribe you a medicine called Tamiflu. Doctors say it works well if it’s taken within 48-72 hours of coming down with the flu. While it won’t cure you, it will shorten the course of the virus.
▪ If your symptoms get worse or if you are having difficulty breathing, go to the emergency department.

What to know:
▪ While we are very busy, if you come to TMC, we will care for you. No one will ever be refused care.
▪ If you come to TMC, thank you for being patient. We know your time is valuable and you would not be at TMC if you were feeling well.
▪ TMC’s emergency department strives to make your visit as timely and efficient as possible.
▪ Finally, if you haven’t received the flu vaccine, it’s not too late to protect yourself. You can make an appointment at TMC One, conveniently located on the TMC campus, 2424 N. Wyatt Drive, #100. Valet parking is available.

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461