No doubt about it, flu season is upon us! The flu typically occurs from October through March and peaks during the months of December, January and February. Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness that is spread through respiratory secretions from person to person or by coming into contact with the virus on unclean surfaces such as clothing, doorknobs and shopping carts. Most people become contagious the day before symptoms appear and remain infectious for up to 5-7 days after symptoms begin. The flu can occasionally cause severe symptoms, particularly in high-risk populations such as children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, nursing home residents and certain people with chronic health conditions.
Your first instinct may be to reach out to your doctor, make an appointment and hope for relief in antibiotic form – however, research and studies have shown that antibiotics are ineffective against the flu and other viral illnesses. Antibiotics should only be prescribed for bacterial infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, urinary infections and strep throat. The majority of the time, respiratory illnesses, even sinus infections and bronchitis, are caused by viruses rather than bacteria and will not be helped by antibiotics.
Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics and are prescribed for the treatment of the flu in high-risk populations to prevent complications. If you are in a high-risk group and develop influenza symptoms, contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Antiviral medications to treat the flu are most beneficial if taken within the first 48 hours. Antiviral drugs can also be prescribed to decrease the chances of developing the flu in a high-risk patient that has been exposed. If you are in a high-risk group and have been in contact with someone who has the flu, call your healthcare professional as soon as possible to inquire about prophylactic (preventive) antiviral medications.
Most healthy patients with mild-moderate symptoms, don’t require medical care or antiviral drugs. Rest, hydration, use of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or fever reducers and staying at home are the best measures to take. However, if you develop any of the following symptoms you should seek emergency medical care:
- Adults: Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain, confusion, not drinking enough fluids which can lead to dehydration, sudden dizziness or severe vomiting.
- Children: Rapid or difficult breathing, bluish discoloration of the skin (especially the hands and face), not drinking enough fluids which can lead to dehydration, difficult or unable to wake up or interact with others, severe irritability (child does not want to be held), severe headache or stiff neck.
- Infant: An infant with the flu and any of the following symptoms should be taken to the emergency room immediately: Fever above 100.3 (if under 3 months old), unable to eat, no tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.
We Are Here
Barbour Community Health Association is always here to address questions and concerns regarding your health. We have walk-in hours available at Belington Medical Clinic from 7:30am-8:30am Monday through Saturday and at Myers Clinic from 7:30 am-11:30 am Monday through Saturday & from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Our school-based clinics, Brandon Wellness Center and ABU Wellness Center offer walk-in hours from 8:00 am-12:00 pm Monday through Friday for students and staff at those locations. In addition to our walk-in hours, Barbour Community Health Association makes every effort to arrange same day appointments and see patients as soon as possible. You may contact us by clicking HERE.
A $175,000 grant was awarded to the Barbour Community Health Association’s (BCHA) Behavioral Health program recently to aid in the development and expansion of mental health services. Funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), BCHA was one of 1,178 health centers and 13 rural health organizations in the United States to receive monetary support to increase access to behavioral health services with a strong focus on substance abuse. These grants go directly to local organizations, which are best situated to address mental health issues in their own communities.
Other areas of emphasis include the treatment, prevention and awareness of opioid abuse, leveraging health information technology and providing training in the primary care setting. In addition to expanding the BCHA Behavioral Health program, the grant enables the hire of additional staff including Robert W. Kiser, a Licensed Professional Counselor from Buckhannon, to support the increase in services.
Kiser’s education and professional experience are rooted in clinical counseling and music therapy. The implementation of the AIMS grant will allow for early intervention and the ability to work with children and young adults before trauma or adverse experiences can have a lasting negative effect. Kiser states, “With early intervention, these young individuals will be able to go on to lead happy and productive lives.”
Contact Us for more information on the AIMS grant or behavioral health services.
Barbour Community Health Association benefits from its new partnership with the WVU School of Medicine Telepsychiatry Program. Through collaboration with the Brandon Wellness Center at Phillip Barbour High School, students will now have the opportunity to receive telepsychiatry health services.
This partnership allows WVU’s Telepsychiatry Program to implement its new initiative called the West Virginia Children’s Access Network at the Brandon Wellness Center where psychiatric and pediatric specialists can connect with students via teleconference. By allowing this vital interaction, medical professionals can screen, consult and treat patients efficiently and successfully at the Brandon Wellness Center, bridging the gap between rural settings and specialized health care services.
Secure and independent, the West Virginia Children’s Access Network ensures timely care for students in Barbour County, where access to specialized health care is limited. The program’s other focuses include early detection of students at high risk for obesity, diabetes, asthma and oral health problems. Educational and administrative video-conferencing services are also provided.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the Brandon Wellness Center at 304-457-4000.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it’s easier with the right help. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S., killing close to half a million people each year. Living a smoke-free life will benefit your health, wallet, and give your loved ones some peace of mind.
If you made 2018 your year to stop smoking Barbour Community Health Association is here to support your smoke-free goal. Take charge of your health in 2018 with the help of Belington Medical Clinic and Myers Clinic.
The Belington Medical Clinic and Myers Clinic will each be offering a free program developed by the American Lung Association called Freedom from Smoking. Participants can attend either the Belington or Philippi sessions interchangeably throughout the seven weeks.
Eight classes are held over seven weeks. Group leaders are certified facilitators who will discuss preparing and planning to quit as well as lifestyle changes that support tobacco-free living. The Myers Clinic’s eight sessions, which are held from 2-4pm, take place each Thursday beginning January 18th. Belington Medical Clinic’s sessions will be held each Monday from 6-8pm and begin January 15th.
To find out more information about the program or to register, please call Lesa Jordan at the Belington Medical Clinic at 304-823-2800, ext. 151 by January 10.