GUIZERIX: Stay safe out there, y’all

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Well, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.

This time last year, we were reluctantly (perhaps joyously) removing our masks and dreading the COVID-19 surge that would come with the holiday season. I do believe more than a few jokes were made about killing grandma because the Thanksgiving dishes were being served family style.

The fear, although subsiding, was still very much there.

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It’s a different story this year — I can’t remember the last time I even heard the word “COVID” other than hearing some talking head on the television complain about all the aftereffects of the pandemic.

No, the latest illness en vogue is the good old flu. If you haven’t gotten it yet, you probably will soon, as the most popular strain is a nasty one.

The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that Mississippi’s flu activity level is “Very High,” as is the case for much of the Southeast United States.

Thankfully, there are a few steps we can take to avoid the flu.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, residents are encouraged to “Take Three” to prevent the infection. Take time to get a flu vaccination each year, take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs and take antivirals to treat your flu if your doctor prescribes them.

The flu, like other viruses, does not respond to antibiotic treatment. On the other hand, antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications, especially if you take them as soon as possible after symptoms appear.

Basic, kindergarten-level hygiene practices also go a long way. Wash your hands effectively and for the appropriate length of time — about 20 seconds. Also, avoid touching your eyes and mouth.

Most importantly, if you are “down with the sickness,” as the youths would say, stay at home. Lord knows we don’t need anyone else infected with your germs.

While I know mentioning vaccinations is akin to saying “Beetlejuice” thrice in a row, the flu vaccine is an effective means of protecting yourself and others from the flu. According to MSDH, the flu vaccine is available as traditional injections, a nasal spray and high-dose versions for older people.

No matter the diagnosis, no one wants to be sick, especially as we look toward the holidays. Take the necessary steps today to protect yourself and others from illness, whether that’s the flu, monkeypox or some as-yet-named malady the CDC tells us to be afraid of next.