The Arrival of Cold Weather is a Reminder that Flu Season is Near

Davidsonville students and parents take proactive measures to fight off the influenza.

The cold weather unfortunately signifies that flu season is forthcoming. While reported cases of the influenza in Davidsonville are sporadic to date, children and adults are nevertheless taking steps to protect themselves from getting this miserable virus.

In fact, this past week some 300 doses of the Flumist were administered to students at Davidsonville Elementary as part of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s free seasonal flu vaccinations program offered to children 5 to 11 years old in the public elementary schools.

Often preferred by school-age children, the FluMist is a nasal spray that is a safe and easy way to receive the seasonal vaccine. This year’s Flumist offers protection against three flu strains including H1N1.

Flu season typically begins in late October and runs through early April.

Jackie Wharton, Davidsonville Elementary’s school nurse, says that so far, no cases of the flu have been reported at the school.  However that did not deter parents from signing their children up to receive the Flumist.

“Turnout for the Flumist was tremendous,” said Wharton. “Approximately 50 percent of our students received the vaccine this year. This percentage ranks among the highest in Anne Arundel County.”

Amy Swank, a mother of two children at Davidsonville Elementary and a certified registered nurse anesthetist, is a firm believer in the Flumist.

“Having my children receive the Flumist is one thing I can do to hopefully prevent them from getting the flu,” said Swank.  “It’s less traumatic than the shot, helps to stimulate antibodies in the nose as well as the blood and is conveniently offered for free at the school.”

Kim Akers, a mother and teacher at Davidsonville is also a strong proponent of the Flumist and choose to have her son Joshua receive the nasal mist this year.

“Joshua receives the Flumist every year,” said Akers.  “Josh doesn't mind receiving the mist like he would the shot and the convenience of having it offered at the school is a bonus.”

Jen Selby has two children at Davidsonville Elementary as well.  Luckily her boys have never gotten the flu and she hopes to keep it this way.

“I worry about them getting the flu,” said Selby. “Having them receive the Flumist is an important step in protecting them against the virus.”

Dr. Kevin Clark, a pediatrician at Davidsonville Pediatrics, mentions that his practice has diagnosed four cases of the flu this season; two in their Davidsonville office and two at the Crofton location.

Clark says that many times people mislabel the flu for the common cold.

“The flu is a respiratory infection similar to a cold but much worse,” mentions Clark.  “It comes on very sudden and basically feels like you have been hit by a truck.”

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene  signs of a cold include slight aches and pains, mild fatigue and weakness, stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, mild chest discomfort, moderate coughing and typically no fever or headache.

The flu on the other hand presents symptoms such as a high fever, prominent headache, severe aches and pains, fatigue and weakness that can last up to two-three weeks, extreme exhaustion, sore throat, severe chest discomfort and a cough.

Clark says that the best lines of defense against getting the virus is good hand hygiene along with keeping your hands out of your eyes, mouth and nose and receiving either the flu shot or mist.  

“Wash your hands for 30 seconds with warm, soapy water, and do not wait too long to receive either the flu shot or mist. Full immunity takes up to two to four weeks," explained Clark.

Clark says that the Flumist is recommended for anyone between the ages of two and 49 years of age and is not suggested for individuals with underlying or chronic conditions.

“Talk to your doctor about the best option for you,” said Clark.

Of course, not all individuals will escape the nasty virus. Clark says that if you do get the flu, it’s important for both adults and children to remain hydrated, eat a bland diet and see the doctor within the first 48 hours.

A prescription for healthy children and adults

Wharton mentions that by following these six simple healthy habits, parents and children can help decrease the spread of germs and the flu:

  • Wash your hands.  Using warm water and soap, rub hands together for at least 30 seconds. If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Cover that sneeze and cough – it spreads germs. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow to prevent spreading germs to your hands.
  • Get moving. Exercise helps the body fight off simple illnesses.
  • Get enough sleep.  A rested body helps fight off colds and infections.
  • Eat healthy.  Good nutrition is vital for good health. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  • Don’t be a germ spreader. Keep yourself and children home when sick.

As previously reported in , the following Edgewater pharmacies offer the flu shot on a walk-in basis for a fee. The county health department offers the vaccine for free at the Parole clinic.

  • Parole Health Center
    1950 Drew Street, Annapolis
    Free Flu shot includes H1N1.
    Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:30am-11:30am; Wednesdays, 1-3pm
  • Safeway
    52 W. Central Ave., Edgewater
    Available on a walk-in basis any time the pharmacy is open.
    Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm; Sat, 9am-7pm; Sun, 10am-4pm
    13 Airpark Road, Edgewater
    Available on a walk-in basis any time the pharmacy is open.
    Mon-Fri, 9am - 9 pm; Sat, 9am - 6pm; Sun, 10am - 5pm
  • Rite Aid Pharmacy
    110 Mitchells Chance Road, Edgewater
    $24.99 Walk-in flu shot includes H1N1, available any time the pharmacy is open.
    Hours: daily, 9am-9pm
  • Walgreens
    3106 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater
    $29.99 Walk-in flu shot includes H1N1, available any time the pharmacy is open.
    Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-10pm; Sat, 9am-6pm; Sun, 10am-6pm
  • CVS/pharmacy
    3025 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater
    $29.95 Walk-in flu shot includes H1N1, available any time the pharmacy is open.
    Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-10pm; Sat, 8am-6pm; Sun, 10am-6pm


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