Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Healthy Family

December 12, 2012

At the free standing emergency department at Forest Lakes registered nurse Laurie Lafontaine is seeing about two or three people a day with 'flu-like' symptoms.

"What we've been seeing is people getting pretty sick pretty quickly with in 24-48 hours, high fevers, body aches. We're seeing some nausea and vomiting, but not a lot of that and the head feeling full."

The symptoms are definitely hitting central Virginia.

Just last week Saint Anne's Befield School closed because many students, teachers and staff came down with symptoms of the flu.

"I think we're so busy all the time that we don't pay attention to protecting ourselves. I think we forget to wash our hands. You go into the store you're using the cart that someone else used."

Now Lafontaine is encouraging people to be proactive. She says prevention is the best medicine.

"Not only the hand washing, but when you're coughing. When you start thinking you're coming down with the flu be careful who you're around. Protecting the cough when you're coughing."

But if you're already feeling bad, she says there are a few things you can do to make yourself feel better.

"Treat yourself for the symptoms. Ibuprofen, Tylenol for your fever and body aches. Push the fluids if you're feeling nausous. Stay away from heavy foods. Drink broth, light foods, juice, clear liquids."

And if you think you have the flu, Lafontaine says you should see your doctor.

"If we catch in within 24-48 hours can give you Tamiflu."

But the hope is that you prevent the flu.

She says getting a flu shot could keep you and your kids healthy and prevent several days of fee under the water.

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