The Center for Disease Control announced recently the 2014-2015 influenza (flu) season can now be defined as an epidemic. Widespread influenza activity was reported by 43 states including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
So what must Hudson Valley residents do to protect themselves, particularly if they are in the vulnerable young and older age groups? Dr. Alan Gross, Pulmonology specialist at Premier Medical Group says, “Anyone who hasn’t taken the precaution of a flu vaccination should do so immediately.”
According to the American Lung Association: “Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia, especially among younger children, the elderly, pregnant women, or those with certain chronic health conditions. Many cases of flu never lead to pneumonia, but those that do tend to be more severe and deadly. Many different things can cause pneumonia, but influenza is one of the most common and widespread causes. In fact, flu and pneumonia were the ninth leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, and the seventh among those 65 years of age and older.”
Dr. Alan Gross emphasized that the best approach to managing flu or pneumonia, is not to getall. He comments, “Flu vaccines are still the best and first line of defense.”
If a patient already has signs of flu, a visit to an Internal Medicine provider or Pulmonologist is the right move because treatment is available. “We now have powerful anti-viral drugs that can knock back the virus before it gets serious. If you have a poor immune system, or suffer from conditions such as asthma, emphysema, COPD or chronic bronchitis, we can help you fight the virus. The CDC is reporting that anti-virals are proving effective against current flu variants,” says Dr. Alan Gross.”
The Center for Disease Control has tracked the October through March flu season for the past 32 years. In the majority of those years, the flu season has not peaked until February (14 years), closely followed by years when it has peaked in March.
Dr. Alan Gross says, “We encourage everyone, especially parents of young children, or those aged 60 and older, to be sure to protect themselves. Just because it is now nearly February, does not mean it’s too late to get vaccinated.”
Premier Medical Group Internal Medicine Division offers comprehensive care for patients with influenza, pneumonia and other respiratory conditions provided by highly experienced and knowledgeable physicians in four locations: Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Newburgh, and New Windsor. Their specialties include Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Practices, Pulmonology, Nephrology, and Endocrinology. For appointments, please call 845-790-6100