2017-02-08 / Front Page

So, You Have The Flu

By Liz Goff
So you have the flu. Welcome to the 2017 version of the influenza virus, a strain that has Queens residents rushing to doctors, hospital emergency rooms and pharmacies at an alarming rate.

People who have suffered through this year’s flu will tell you this isn’t any ordinary strain of the virus. Sufferers say you know you have it when you try to push the setting on your electric blanket to “vaporize.”

There are many symptoms, sufferers say. Your teeth hurt. So does your hair. You lie in bed, helpless, subject to a constant pounding by billions of microscopic air molecules, relentlessly pummeling your fever-riddled body.

Though people rarely die of the flu or colds and seldom develop complications from them, the discomfort they wreak can be debilitating, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported.

Health officials said this year’s strain of the flu is a particularly nasty one that tends to be slightly more severe - very similar to a virus that wreaked havoc in New York City in 2013. “We’re in the middle of our annual flu epidemic, and this strain of the disease is making a lot of people feel really awful,” officials said.

The CDC reported that, nationwide, approximately 6 per cent of all emergency room patients are suffering from flu-related symptoms.

Health officials said the 2017 strain of the flu usually starts out as a cold with sniffles and a scratchy throat, sometimes accompanied by a nagging cough and sinus headache. But within hours, all that is combined with a sometimes high fever, chills, nausea, headache, body aches and a general groggy, “I’ve got to lie down before I fall down” feeling.

Doctors and meteorologists blame this outbreak, in part, on dormant weather patterns across the country this winter. Temperatures plunge into the 30s or low 40s for a day or two, they skyrocket into the 50s, a perfect atmosphere for the growth and transmittal of any influenza virus, experts said.

While similarities exist between viruses that cause a cold or the flu, they are two distinct illnesses, health officials said.

The worst part of a cold usually lasts longer than the flu, but the flu generally causes more discomfort, doctors and medical practitioners said. The 2017 flu combines symptoms of both the flu and the common cold, making just getting out of bed difficult and getting to work almost impossible, officials said. One of the worst things about this flu is that it sticks around until it’s good and ready to go, health officials said.

Researchers have determined that there are at least two hundred cold viruses and three main types of influenza viruses, each with the unlimited ability to mutate into different forms. With this year’s virus you’re down for the count, officials say.

City health officials are urging Queens residents to get a flu shot if you haven’t already done so. If you’re feeling woozy, sneezy or otherwise sickly, stay home and rest, city Department Of Health officials said..

The flu can be deadly for young children and infants, the elderly and those who suffer with respiratory diseases or other severe illnesses, health officials said. Seniors and parents of infants or young children that show signs of the flu are urged to visit their regular physician or a hospital emergency room.

Many people choose to fight the flu with over-the-counter medications that offer temporarily relief from some symptoms, health officials said. “That’s fine if you or your child doesn’t have a fever,” officials explained. “When you run a fever your body is telling you that you have a viral infection. Pay attention to what your body is saying and get yourself to a doctor,” health officials said.










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