Health Professionals Urging Preventive Care As Flu Season Approaches

RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va (WOAY) – Flu season officially begins in October, but according to health officials some counties have already started seeing some cases trickle in. 

This means health professionals, like Candance Hurd at the Raleigh County Health Department, are urging the public to get their flu shot. Even though there are a few cases starting to come in in West Virginia, the season typically picks up in October and lasts through the winter months. 

“That’s when the viruses are circulating in the community and also as we get to the colder months we’re enclosed indoors a little bit more so we’re having all these germs spread on surfaces,” Hurd who serves as the director of nursing and the administrator, said “People coughing, sneezing, you know, touching things and then we go behind them and touch them also.”

While both the health department and a local pharmacy agree that the best method is a preventive vaccine, there are steps to take when you begin to experience the symptoms. This includes body aches, fever, coughs, and stomach issues. 

“If you have the symptoms of flu, stay home. Take off. Don’t go to school, so you can prevent other people from spreading the virus and see the doctor,” Kahja Mohammed, a pharmacist at Beckley Pharmacy, said. 

Mohammed says even though over-the-counter medicines can help with some of the symptoms, it is best to get a prescription from a doctor. Both the pharmacy and the health department will be offering vaccinations and both say the best time to get it is in October. 

“That’s going to give you protection a few weeks after you get it still hopefully in time before you start to see any real flu activity but will also last you through the influenza season,” Hurd said. 

They also recommend practicing good hand hygiene and staying away from those who are sick. 

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.