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Typhoid Mary strikes again

Published 11:35pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The flu and other viruses have hit Suffolk and Hampton Roads quite hard this winter.

In early January, health care facilities across the region were urging visitors to wear medical masks amid the severe flu outbreak. A Sentara official was quoted as saying that Obici Hospital in Suffolk had been seeing more than 15 patients a day who had “influenza or lookalike influenza.”

The Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say flu activity this year is in the highest category.

The peak of the region’s flu season has most likely come and gone, but many people are still getting sick.

Although it wasn’t the flu, I was sick for what seemed like forever. For a few weeks after Christmas, I was coughing and blowing my nose more times than I would like to count. So much so that I was dubbed “Typhoid Mary” around the office.

Amusing as the new moniker was, I was quite tired of coughing and not feeling well. I don’t get sick every year, and when I do it is not usually that bad. I was sidelined from many of my usual activities.

One thing I didn’t do this winter that I usually do is get vaccinated against the flu. The shot would have been more effective at the beginning of the season, but it is not too late to get the shot. Not having health insurance is not an excuse.

The uninsured should be especially vigilant to stay healthy. Local health departments and drug stores offer the vaccines at a somewhat nominal cost compared to how much it is to treat the flu. Officials urge everyone to seek treatment as soon as symptoms develop.

No age group has been spared the influenza, and its nasty symptoms range from coughs and congestion to headaches, fever, nausea and body aches. But the young, the old and the chronically ill, especially those with lung conditions, are more at risk, officials say.

There is now another cold making its way through the office, but one I have avoided — so far.

It is important to wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough and try to avoid being around a lot of people as much as possible when sick. It is hard for some people to stay home from work or school.

Unfortunately, there is no pause button for life when we are under the weather.

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