The flu (influenza) is here in full force. Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) learned how severe the yearly flu will be by following other countries and the eastern U.S.
We knew by Christmas 2017 that this was an active year with widespread activity in all of the continental U.S. That activity has continued and Tuba City is now in the middle of a large outbreak.
This year’s flu viruses include two types of Influenza A (H3N2, more severe — and H1N1) and at least one Influenza B. Since there are three types of flu going around, a person could get sick with all 3 types: a triple whammy.Since October 2017, there have been over 10,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. and many deaths, including children.
The good news is that most people who get the flu feel badly for several days with a peak at 3-4 days and then recover. Symptoms of the flu are: fever and chills; body aches; headache, sore throat, cough and runny nose; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The cough can last up to 2-3 weeks before it clears up.
Most often a doctor’s visit is not necessary and those who are ill should stay home where they can rest, drink plenty of fluids and take medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen to keep the fever down and treat the aches. The flu is very contagious, so staying home — away from work, school and public places (basketball games, churches, bazaars and kivas) is really important to reduce the spread. Children should not go back to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours.
Sadly, we do not have any good medicine to reduce the misery of the flu. The one medication, Tamiflu, shortens the flu by an average of one day if given early in the illness. Because of shortages, it needs to be reserved for the youngest children and adults with underlying heart or lung conditions or those that are in the hospital with complications like pneumonia (lung infection) or the need for oxygen.
The reasons that you or your family member should come to the ER are:
having trouble drinking liquids or having less urine (pee);
having difficulty breathing or blueness around the lips or mouth.
As in all years, the best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine. Even in year’s when the match against the flu viruses is not the best, getting the vaccine can reduce how severe a case of the flu is and can prevent many cases. Our goal is to prevent as many cases as possible. Other ways to prevent the flu:
if you feel sick, stay at home;
cover your cough with a mask, a glove, your arm, your shirt;
wash your hands as often as possible.
TCRHCC has Same Day Clinic for adults and the Pediatric Clinic for children that offer appointments Monday-Friday from 8-5 p.m. You can also be seen in the Mobile Van, so check Facebook daily for locations, or Sacred Peaks and LeChee. Flu shots are available in clinic and, for adults, at the pharmacy. We have health care providers that can speak to you on the phone to help you decide whether you, your child or your elder do need to be seen. Our Emergency Department has the mission to see all that come, but the sickest patients need to be seen first, so please be patient (wait times will be long) and always wear a mask if you feel ill in ANY way.
Our healthcare community is strong and your hospital is here to support you. Let’s work together to prevent the spread of the flu!
TCRHCC Adult Same Day Clinic: (928) 283-2669;
TCRHCC Pediatric Clinic: (928) 283-2670;
Sacred Peaks Health Center: (928) 863-7333; and
LeChee Health Facility: (928) 698-4900.