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The Flu Has Arrived

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Well, it’s here, at least the first case of flu this winter that I have seen. Much to my surprise and chagrin, I saw a 15-year-old boy with Influenza A several days ago. He looked pretty pathetic, had hot skin, body aches and horrible headache, dry cough and the big “tip off”: he wanted his mother to take him to the doctor! That alone in a teenage boy is telling. When I asked if he had a flu shot, he looked at me like I had asked if he eats liver?

After sending him off to the lab for that horrible nasal swab to obtain the specimen for the “flu test” several minutes later the lab tech informed me, “oh boy Dr. Sue, he has the flu.”

We were all somewhat shocked as this is a little early for influenza in our area. We also always secretly pray that we can get through the Christmas holidays before flu hits so that the office has a little Christmas break before becoming a very busy spot. When flu hits during Christmas a pediatricians office is busier than the Wal-Mart. We doctors would rather send the business to the retailers.

The moral of today’s story is this! RUN, do not WALK, and get that flu shot or flu mist. It takes 2 weeks for you to develop immunity after you are vaccinated and with the holiday parties, family gatherings and school programs in full swing, the flu may just be a few feet away from you. I bet that cute teenage boy would be the first one in line! He is coming back when he gets better to get the shot too, as there are 3 strains of influenza in the shot, so he certainly doesn’t want to get a different one later in the season.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon.

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