If you're like us, there are two things on your mind today: it's ridiculously cold (SO cold) and the flu (it's gotten bad, ya'll). While we can't do much about the weather (other than follow James Spann tweets), we do want to address the flu situation. We've got you covered with a flu update and Daniel answers some of the most frequently asked questions we are hearing from patients. Also, you can check out how Blair Pharmacy can help you prevent and treat flu symptoms!
What is the latest flu news?
This week Governor Kay Ivey has issued a State Public Health Emergency for the State of Alabama.
What does this mean for patient care?
Besides opening the door for the state to utilize additional resources and seek federal assistance, this proclamation allows health care facilities to invoke "alternative standards of care" to help ease the congested hospitals and emergency rooms in Alabama. Hospitals in 7 out of 8 state health districts are at 90% capacity and UAB has reported a 16% increase in patient volumes this week. Both UAB Hospital and Children's of Alabama have made adjustments to their standards of care because of this high volume.
This past week, UAB Hospital rescheduled non-urgent elective surgeries that require hospitalization in order to alleviate some overcrowding. Urgent and same-day surgeries continued. At Montgomery's Jackson Hospital, officials are now banning people who have flu-like symptoms from visiting other patients at the hospital and asking anyone who is sick not to come to the facility to visit with patients. In addition to asking those with flu-like symptoms to refrain from visiting hospitalized patients, DCH in Tuscaloosa is also asking children younger than 14 years not to visit as well. Ed Price, Chief Nursing Officer at the Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster, said the hospital is not currently at full capacity, but has gotten busier because of an increase of patients experiencing flu-like symptoms.
What do I do if I am sick?
Patients who are otherwise healthy but are mildly ill are being asked to refrain from coming to the emergency room and call their healthcare provider first.
What medications are available to help me if I do have the flu?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently recommend treatment with Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate). The usual dosage is 75 Mg twice daily for 5 days for people who are currently sick. In addition to treatment Tamiflu® can be used as a prophylactic for people who have been in contact with infected individuals. The dosage for prevent treatment is 75 Mg once daily for 10 days.
What strain of flu is going around?
Influenza test results from public health laboratories are showing influenza A H3. (link to CDC)
What strains of flu are in the vaccines this year?
- Trivalent vaccines:
- an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09–like virus;
- an A/Hong Kong/ 4801/2014 (H3N2)–like virus; and
- a B/Brisbane/60/2008–like virus (Victoria lineage).
- Quadrivalent vaccines:
- the same three HA antigens as trivalent vaccines, plus a B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage). (link)
HOW CAN WE HELP???
Blair Pharmacy is here for you!
We have Tamiflu®; in stock for our patients. Just have your doctor call it in to us and we'll take care of the rest. We will even deliver it to your home or you can use our drive-thru for easy pick-up.
We also have many items in our store that you can use for flu prevention:
- Hand sanitizer & anti-bacterial soaps
- Disinfectant spray & household surface cleaners
- Face masks & facial tissue
Whether you have the flu or feel awful due to a bad cold (aka "the crud"), we have you covered with over-the-counter medications that will help you find some relief.
Lastly, please call us even if it's just to ask a question. Our board-certified pharmacist is here to discuss any questions and concerns you have about your health (or your child's health). Daniel can help you decide what over-the-counter medications may help you and also advise you if it's time to call your doctor. Having a close relationship with your pharmacist is always a huge step forward in caring for yourself and your loved ones.
Let us make getting healthy and staying well easier for you.
Wishing you the very best!
Daniel & Kim