The hacking, coughing flu season has finally hit. Inyo-Mono Health Officer Dr. Rick Johnson sent out the word that the flu season has been mild in its effects until now, but the illness has started to hit hard.
I asked Dr. Johnson what he sees out there in Inyo-Mono. "In the last couple of weeks," he said, "things have taken a turn for the worse. We're seeing more serious illnesses, more hospitalizations, and more influenza that is not a match for the vaccine this year.
"It's still a good idea to get a vaccine because it does provide some protection. Unlike in the last couple of years," said Dr. Johnson, "when the vaccine was a perfect match for the bugs that were going around, this year that has not been the case in the last couple of weeks."
Dr. Johnson called the start to the flu season here very slow and mild. He said in the last couple of weeks it has begun to increase and will probably peak in the next two to four weeks before it ends up going away.
The Health Officer said that people should be aware if they come down with respiratory symptoms and become short of breath, if they can't stay hydrated, if they're sicker longer than 3 to 5 days, or if they start to get better and then suddenly start to get worse – those would all be warning signs to seek medical care.
Other advice to protect yourself – wash your hands frequently. Stay home if you are sick. Symptoms of influenza are mostly respiratory. Take an anti-viral drug if your doctor advises.