Precautions to take during flu season

It is officially flu season on the mainland, but what about here in Hawaii?

“We can get it earlier than the mainland or we can get it later than the mainland,” said Dr. Robert Ruggieri with Island Urgent Care.

Ruggieri says Flu season is year round in Hawaii. So far this year he has seen isolated cases, but nothing unusual. “We haven’t seen the wave of flu starting yet,” said Ruggieri.

But the number of cases could increase in the next few months.

“Every December and January we get extremely busy and it is clearly the flu that drives that so yes I expect that again this year,” said Ruggieri.

The best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot.

Last year, experts say the the vaccine was only 20 percent effective, but the new vaccine is expected to be 50 percent to 60 percent effective.

“This year they have changed up some components of this years flu vaccine and so it is going to be very important that people go out and get their flu vaccines this year as early as possible,” said Dr. Melissa Viray with the state Department of Health.

Symptoms of the flu include high fever, severe headaches and body aches.

What about people who say they got sick because of the flu shot?

“You are not going to get the flu from the flu shot,” said Viray. “It is not going to get you sick.”

If you don’t like getting a flu shot, experts say there are other ways of getting the vaccine, one of those ways is through a nasal spray.

If you’re thinking about skipping a flu shot this year perhaps you should think about your wallet

You can have an easier time fighting off fall and winter colds and the flu by putting certain items in your shopping cart.

Doctors say yogurt has benefitial bacteria to strengthen your immune system.

Mushrooms also show promise in boosting immunity.

Water and other fluids can help clean a cold out of your system.

Hot peppers and spices can help clear sinuses, and honey can soothe an irritated throat.

The Centers for Disease Control says the flu carries an economic toll. It costs about $16 billion in lost earnings for sick employees.

Parents of children sick with the flu took on medical expenses between $300 and $4,000 depending on how severe the illness is.

Health experts say the flu is unpredictable and that’s also why they recommend getting a vaccine now.



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