With the flu season at its worst, so far there have been four flu-related deaths in New Mexico, and one as close as Lincoln County. However, healthcare providers say so far for Grant County, it is not as severe as last season.
"We are at the height of the flu season", says David Morgan, an information officer at the Ministry of Health. "Flu season in New Mexico and the country is from December to February, we hit the peak, so you see a spike in flu in the southwest of the state, across the state and throughout the country."
The Ministry of Health reports that the four flu-related deaths so far have all been 50 years or older, from the provinces of Lincoln, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Mora. The department recommends that anyone who has not had a flu shot does so now.
"The flu vaccine is reconfigured every year," Morgan said. "It changes from season to season, the last flu season was tough, because a common species circulated in New Mexico and the nation that was not included in the vaccine.This season, until now – knock on wood – has the most common stresses of the flu in New Mexico and the nation covered by the flu vaccine. "
Morgan said that the vaccine is not only to prevent someone from becoming ill, but to prevent it from spreading.
"If you get the flu vaccine, it protects against the most common flu strains," he said. "There is no guarantee that you will not get flu, but with the flu vaccine you have the chance that the symptoms decrease in severity.For the influenza vaccine does not protect yourself, but those around you.At a childcare, school or even an editorial, all those places have the potential of it [people] get sick and spread germs. You protect you and everyone around you. In the case of children and the elderly, they are the most vulnerable people we have. "
Once the admission has been made, it takes two weeks before influenza antibodies are built up.
Some symptoms of the flu, according to the Department of Health, include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or stuffy nose, headache, fatigue and muscle pain. To prevent flu from getting and spreading, people have to wash their hands, use a tissue to cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough, stay home when they are sick and avoid contact with people.
The Grant County flu season has not been as severe as last season, according to the staff at Gila Regional Medical Center. William Hemmer, infection prevention officer, said that 70 percent of people with flu-like symptoms have a cold virus instead.
"There are other concerns at this time of the year," he said. "The majority of those who get sick, or even when they just do not feel well, they do not have a flu virus, flu is not the only thing that goes around, and last year was considered worse than normal. [The] flu was higher than normal. "
Peggy White, head nurse at the hospital, agrees that the flu season this year is not as bad as last year.
People & # 39; are not so sick this year, "she said. "Last year the flu changed into pneumonia, there is not much [of that] this year."
White said that every patient who comes through the clinics or the first aid department is offered a flu shot, including the staff.
"It is for the protection of patients, community and families," she said.
Silver City's CVS pharmacy, located at Silver Heights Blvd 610, offers walk-in flu shots.
"We have seen an increase, not only in flu shots, but also in the Tamiflu [a medicine prescribed to fight the flu] we're doing it, "said Joe Estrada, pharmacy manager." We store that in doses for adults and children. "
He said that the busiest time for flu shots is in August and September, when the school starts. It usually takes 15 minutes to go in and out for a recording.
"This year we saw late vaccines," Estrada said. "I probably 10 [shots] a week, which is pretty much. We are a bit busier with regard to the recordings. "