CDC: This flu season could become epidemic

A FAMU student gets a free flu shot.
Photo by Kathryne Lewis


By Chambria Gordon
Outlook writer

Roseangela Fernandez knew something wasn’t right. She felt exhausted to the point that she missed two days of classes at FSU.

Right away she knew she had a case of the flu. Fernandez, a third-year biology student, had not had the symptoms in more than two years.
“It was the worst feeling ever,” she said. “I was extremely tired. My nose was runny, I started to get a slight throat ache and I lost my voice a couple of days after.”

Fernandez is one of millions of Americans who have been battling the flu this year. The Centers for Disease Control reported that the flu strain this year is one of the deadliest in a decade.

The CDC reported that during the first week of January 2018, 7 percent of every 100,000 hospital visits in the U.S. was for the flu.
As of mid-January, more than 149 deaths have been reported around the country. Officials are concerned that the flu could become an epidemic.

“Reducing spread of the disease could be a simple process, said Dr. Daniel Bernabe.

“I cannot stress how important it is to wash your hands to limit exposure” said Bernabe, a family medical physician at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. “Sick people can harbor the flu in closed areas so you need to protect yourself from transmission.
“Many people can confuse the common cold with the flu.”

Symptoms of the flu can include but are not limited to a high fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, and abdominal pain, he said.
When experiencing flu-like symptoms, Bernabe suggests that staying hydrated could help to prevent an attack of the flu.

“If you are experiencing flu like symptoms within the first 48-hour window of catching the flu, you still have time to prevent it from worsening,” Bernabe said.

Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol could be effective in the early stage, Bernabe said. He recommends that anyone experiencing shortness of breath while experiencing flu symptoms should go to a hospital immediately.

In addition to visiting the hospital, flu victims could also get flu shots at most local drugstores. The average price is just over $40. with or without health insurance.

“I try to recommend everyone from the age of 6-months-old and up to get their flu shot prior to flu season,” said Bernabe.

Meanwhile, local students at Florida State, FAMU and TCC have access to free flu shots.

For more information, contact the Center for Disease Control at 800-CDC-INFO (800) 232-4636.