Flu outbreak in 2018 different from years past, but treatable

7 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago Monday, January 29 2018 Jan 29, 2018 Monday, January 29, 2018 5:38:00 PM CST January 29, 2018 in News
By: Charles Nichelson, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - There have already been nearly 2,000 reported cases of influenza in Boone County since October of 2017, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, but some medical professionals are recommending alternative fixes.

The flu has reached epidemic levels in 2018; Missouri is one of the states hardest hit by the respiratory virus, according to a Kansas City Star report. And experts say wiping down objects and surfaces is unlikely to be effective in stopping the disease from spreading, but there are options.

Brenda Wilson, a staff nurse at Boone Hospital, said one trick to treating flu-symptoms is not over-treating yourself.

"Sometimes the multi-symptom reliever is not a good thing," Wilson said, "because it may be giving you stuff you don't really need."

Dr. Caya Tanski, a certified classical homeopath, said the priority should be maintaining Vitamin D levels for prevention throughout the year, however, natural options for treatment vary. 

Tanksi said "besides homeopathy there are herbal remedies," such as elderberry and taraxacum, which comes from dandelions; anti-viral essential oils, such as eucalyptuses and oregano; and sucking on cloves.

She said she favors these options because natural options often come with fewer side-effects than traditional medicines.

Wilson added that being proactive is important, especially since this year's flu strain "is a little bit unusual, because it's actually hitting more of the middle range," meaning 30 to 50-year-old adults.

She also said preventative measures are still the most effective in containing the virus.

"If you have symptoms, stay home, don't go anywhere," Wilson said, and if you absolutely have to go out, "cover your nose and mouth with something, when you're coughing or sneezing... that's crucial to helping decrease spread of the flu." 

Wilson said classic remedies are still useful too.

Specifically, Wilson said, don't use your hands to cover your mouth and "if you had (symptoms) for a while and you were better, and your symptoms got worse, you definitely need to go see your physician then." 

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