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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Take precautions, even as season winds down

It seems that warmer weather may finally be on the way. After a hellaciously long season of cold, spring has made its late appearance. No more snow. No more wicked winter winds. No more flu. 

Wait. Hold on a second.

Believe it or not, flu season is still hanging around. In late March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there is a “second wave” of influenza this year. 

“While the chances of getting the flu have decreased from what they were a couple of months ago, we’re not completely in the clear,” said Stanley Martin, M.D., Geisinger’s director of infectious diseases. “We’re advising the public to continue to take precautions.”

There are two primary strains of influenza this flu season: influenza A, which was the powerful strain that caused the 2017-18 flu season to be so virulent, and influenza B, which has been responsible for approximately 60 percent of flu cases since February around the country.

What that means is that while the number of people coming down with the flu is on the decline, we have to keep our guard up. This is especially true for people who are more susceptible to the flu, such as the elderly and young children.

Here are the precautions that can help you to avoid a bout of late-season flu.

Get a flu shot
If for some reason you haven’t gotten a flu shot this season, get one. 

“Some protection is better than no protection at all,” said Dr. Martin.

Wash your hands
Beyond getting a flu shot, hand washing is the best way to prevent the flu and other illnesses. Any time you are in a public place like a gym, a public restroom or even in the mall touching a lot of handrails, be sure to wash your hands. 

“We also recommend making sure your environment at home, school or work is as clean and germ-free as possible,” said Dr. Martin.

Stay home if you’re sick
Many people try to “power through” when they’re under the weather, but that is rarely a good idea. When you have the flu, you won’t be at your best, you’ll likely prolong your illness and you run the risk of getting others sick.

“We know it seems crazy to be worrying about the flu when it’s finally short-sleeve weather outside, but this has been a tough flu season, and missing out on the spring weather because you have a late season flu is certainly not going to make you happy,” said Dr. Martin.
Stanley Martin, M.D., is an infectious disease specialist at Geisinger. For more information about what to do if you’re got the flu, click here.
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