Protecting Yourself During Flu Season
Winter is the time of year when just about everyone seems to get bitten by the cold or flu bug. At school, work, or social gatherings, you are likely to run into at least a few people who are either just starting to show symptoms or have just recovered from an illness.
Avoiding exposure to the germs responsible for influenza may be next to impossible. If you do fall ill, reporting all symptoms to your doctor and getting the appropriate medical care and treatment is vitally important. Unfortunately, medical misdiagnosis of seasonal, flu type infections is common, and without proper treatment, these illnesses can have serious and potentially life threatening complications.
Facts About The Flu
Most people tend to think of the flu as a stomach virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza is actually a highly contagious respiratory illness that primarily infects the ears, nose, and lungs. While there are different strains of flu that spread each season, symptoms are generally similar and include the following:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Muscle aches and pain
- Headaches and fatigue
- Fever and chills
- Vomiting and diarrhea, particularly in children
Flu symptoms mimic other types of respiratory illness, and while testing is available, the results are not always reliable. Left untreated, the flu can develop into pneumonia and cause life threatening complications, such as widespread infection, inflammation of the heart muscle, and multi-organ failure. Those most at risk for these complications include children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and people with chronic lung or heart disease.
Flu Season In South Carolina
You can get the flu at any time of the year, but the CDC reports peak months are October through May, with the greatest number of influenza cases reported from December through February. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)closely monitors influenza, and reports the following statistics for flu season in our area:
During the 2015-2016 Flu Season
- Over 1,600 lab verified cases of influenza
- More than 170 flu related hospitalizations
- Eight flu related deaths
During the 2016-2017 Flu Season (As of December 2016)
- 857 lab verified cases of influenza
- 138 flu related hospitalizations
- Three flu related deaths
As these figures are based on the number of cases reported, actual figures could be much higher. To protect yourself and your loved ones, the CDC recommends getting a yearly flu vaccine, staying away from those currently sick, and washing your hands frequently. If you do come down with flu-type symptoms, see your doctor right away.
Get Professional Assistance
If you or someone you care about has suffered serious or potentially life threatening complications as the result of the flu, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we can advise you on how to hold negligent medical providers responsible for a missed or delayed diagnosis and assist you in getting compensation for the damages you suffered.