1/31/03 - The Flu Bug




The Flu Bug
By: Wendy Ray

The flu season has been so bad this year, several Heartland schools have had to close because there have been so many students out sick.

Three schools were out Friday because of illness, and the flu bug is still hitting kids and adults hard.
Once the flu hits, there's no stopping it from taking over your body, but there are things you can do to help yourself feel better during the process.

Nurse practitioner Cathy Casteel says, "Since the first of January we've had a real increase in the number of flu cases." 15-year-old Victoria White should be in school instead of a doctor's office, but she has no choice. "I've been having real bad congestion in my nose and my throat's been really sore," Victoria says. "I also have a high fever, vomitting. It's terrible."

"If someone gets the flu and we catch it early, if they come in the morning they are having symptoms or that evening or even the next day, we can start them on one of the new antivirals," Casteel says.

Victoria's not the only one in her family sick.  Her mom's feeling bad too. "When she would have a symptom, I could pretty much guarantee I would have it in a few hours," Victoria says. After checking her out and hearing her symptoms, Victoria's doctor knew it was probably the flu. A quick test is given to patients who look like they may have the sickness. By getting a quick swab of her nose, Victoria will know in ten minutes if she has it. The result, Victoria's the flu bug's latest victim.

If you have the flu, the best thing you can do is get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and take a fever reducer, those things should make you feel better in a few days. If you're feeling bad, the earlier you do something about your symptoms the better off you'll be.

So far this flu season, there have been at least two different strains of flu identified.