Flu Latest: St. Louis area still being hit hard by Influenza A

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(KTVI) - Everyone knows someone who is sick this time of year. That's because there's been a dramatic increase in positive test for Influenza A, which includes the H1N1, are on the rise.

But with so many flu vaccinations given out each year. The big question is why are so many people getting the flu?

Dr. Dave Warren, disease specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, talks about why and what you can do to try and avoid getting the flu.

For more information from Barnes Jewish.org:
flu symptoms:

The following are the most common symptoms of the flu. But each person may experience symptoms differently. Influenza is called a respiratory disease, but the whole body seems to suffer when a person is infected. People usually become acutely ill with several, or all, of the following symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing at times
  • Cough, often becoming severe
  • Severe aches and pains
  • Fatigue for several weeks
  • Sometimes a sore throat
  • Extreme exhaustion

Fever and body aches usually last for 3 to 5 days, but cough and fatigue may last for 2 weeks or more. Although nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may happen with the flu, these gastrointestinal symptoms are rarely prominent. Stomach flu is an incorrect term sometimes used to describe gastrointestinal illnesses caused by other microorganisms.

The symptoms of the flu may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How to prevent flu:

Get a flu shot

The best time to get the flu vaccine is when it becomes available in your community, but getting the vaccine later is better than not getting it at all. The young, those older than age 65, and the chronically ill are most at risk for complications from seasonal flu. The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone age 6 months and older. Three different flu shots are available, and your provider will help select the right one for you. Two things to remember: Flu shots don't cause the flu, and getting a flu shot won't protect you against the common cold.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands often. The viruses that cause colds and seasonal flu are spread by droplets, usually when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The virus is airborne and enters your body through your nose or mouth, or from your hands after you have touched an object contaminated with the virus. For instance, if you share a phone or a computer keyboard, or touch public door handles, and put your hands near your face, the virus could enter your mouth or nose. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water is best for cleaning cold viruses off your hands. If you don't have access to soap and water, consider carrying an alcohol-based hand cleaner with you.

Use tissues, then toss them

Don't stuff used tissues back in your pocket. Throw them away.

Avoid contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home if you are sick to prevent spreading your illness. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.

Practice good health habits

The CDC recommends that you follow general recommendations to stay healthy. These suggestions include: get plenty of sleep; be physically active; manage your stress; drink plenty of fluids; and eat nutritious food.