Precaution, prevention key to fighting flu


Many Switzerland County residents are battling the flu and flu-like symptoms, and Doctor Scott Frede says that using precautionary measures and following some preventative guidelines can be key to staying healthy.

“There’s certainly a lot of upper respiratory illness, muscle aches and pains, fever, congestion and those sorts of things going around,” Dr. Frede said. “There have been some cases of Influenza A in the state, but it’s not been my experience yet that we’ve seen it here.”

Dr. Frede said that there is a stomach flu going around that at times people get confused with influenza.

“That’s basically a GI (gastro-intestinal) illness, and it last about two days,” the doctor said. “Those people who are most at risk are the same people who are most at risk for viral illness – the elderly and the very young.”

The doctor says that the biggest risk with the stomach flu is the risk of dehydration, so people battling that need to make sure that they continue to drink plenty of fluids.

Dr. Frede said that one of the best ways to battle influenza during the “Flu Season” – which runs from now until March – is to get a flu shot. Those shots are available at several locations around the community, including the Switzerland County Health Department.

“Even though it doesn’t protect against every viral illness that people get during the wintertime, it’s still very important,” Dr. Frede said.

Preventive measures can also go a long way in curbing exposure to winter illnesses.

“One of the interesting things about what most people would call the ‘stomach flu’ is that alcohol wipes aren’t really that effective against it,” Dr. Frede said. “The standard soap and water has a better impact. We always go back to the same thing, and that’s hand washing.”

Dr. Frede said that it is so important to do soap and water handwashing and covering sneezes and coughs.

“Those are the things that we always go back to,” he said. “And, really, that’s the primary protection from any kind of flu virus.”

But, as the county enters the flu season and with a percentage of the community currently fighting illness, the future isn’t a clear one.

“Who knows what’s going to happen over the next four months,” Dr. Frede said. “People need to get their influenza shots, which is very important; and then proper hand washing. If people do get the stomach flu, it’s something that should be resolved in one to two days.”