February is the peak month for the FLU!
Get out your hand sanitizer! We have seen LOTS of new flu cases already this week, a BIG jump over the past month or two. Interestingly, for 14 out of the past 30 years, February is the peak month for flu activity. The CDC has begun receiving reports of severe illness caused by a particular strain of the flu virus that is circulating this year, hitting young adults and children especially hard. In addition, we are seeing an increase in flu activity regionally, although flu levels are still well below those from the past few years (red line below).
So how do you stay well for the rest of this flu season (which sadly can continue all the way through May)?
- Get a Flu Vaccine. No, it’s not too late, and Yes, we still have them – call the office to get your’s today. This is your BEST defense, and this year’s vaccine seems to be a GOOD MATCH for circulating viruses so far.
- Get evaluated quickly if you develop flu-like symptoms. If you develop fever, chills, sore throat, cough or body aches, come in to the office quickly for evaluation and treatment. EARLY TREATMENT is key to preventing complications in high risk patients.
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer often. Good hand hygiene can protect from many different kinds of infection.
- Cover your cough. Be considerate and cover your mouth when you cough to prevent the airborne spread of the flu and other viruses.
So for the rest of this flu season, Get Vaccinated Now, Get Evaluated Quickly if you develop symptoms and Practice Good Infection Precautions to STAY HEALTHY! And remember, Boerne Family Medicine is here to help when you need it the most, because…
BOERNE FAMILY MEDICINE is the Medical Home for Your Family!
Fatigue? These are common causes I discuss with patients, in addition to screening for reversible causes with bloodwork
Make an appointment to rule out some medical causes like anemia, thyroid disorder, sleep apnea and vitamin deficiency. (hint: it’s probably NOT your thyroid!)
Another successful day today. We had three providers from the U.S. and one Rwandan nurse, Doreen. We saw 137 people at last count, yesterday it was 143. Most of the cases here are so different than the cases we see in the states. The majority of complaints from children here are: headache, eye pain, skin rashes, stomach pain, fever, tooth pain.
We have seen a few very sick kids. I saw 2 with pneumonia yesterday. And, of the 10 or so cases of suspected malaria that we sent for testing 9 came back positive.
My last patient of the day today was a 5 year old girl with undiagnosed and untreated seizures. There is no access to neurology here, and no CT. Being in this part of the world you have to consider if this is a parasitic infection only diagnosed by a CT, Cysticercosis.
Sometimes, with some of these cases, all you can do is pray. Because, short of a miracle from God, these children will not be able to get the care they need.
I saw 2 children today that I had seen when I was here in June, one with hydrocephalus & paraplegia. Mom is still looking for answers for her son. And there is nothing more we can do. A previous medical team brought her a wheelchair because he is getting too big for her to carry. He is 7 years old.”
As we move from Cedar Fever Season to Oak Allergy Season, I want to give you a few useful tips to avoid my office and stay away from a sinus infection this spring.
Did you know that allergies are the 3rd leading reason for missed work and the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in the United States? If you suffer from allergies, this may not be a suprise, because you know how bad they can make you feel!
Our goal at Boerne Family Medicine is to enhance your quality of life by improving your health, so here are some tips for treating your allergies:
- Avoidance: this can be difficult, but attempt to avoid things you are allergic to. For example, if dust mites are an issue, try a mattress-cover and pillow-cover. If necessary, we can do allergy testing to identify what is affecting you most.
- Antihistamines: over-the-counter medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra can be very effective and safe treatments for allergies. Antihistamine drops such as Zatidor and Alaway for the eyes are available as well.
- Nasal Corticosteroids: corticosteroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Nasacort are probably our most effective pharmaceutical treatment for allergies, especially those affecting the nose, throat and eyes.
- Immunotherapy: modifying your immune system’s response is currently the only “cure” available. If you have persistent symptoms, we can perform allergy testing and potential treatment with immunotherapy to allow you to start to take control of this chronic illness.
As always, we will continue to keep same-day appointments available for you to come in and get a jump start on managing this common, nagging, and potentially significant medical illness.
Ben Stahl, MD, FAAFP