WASHINGTON – Marylanders looking to dodge the flu bug may have waited too long to get their flu shots, but there are still a host of things they can do, according to state health officials.
Flu shots may not be the best medicine now, because the flu season is currently at its peak and the shots do not take effect for one or two weeks, said Dale Rohn, an epidemiologist with Maryland’s Epidemiology and Disease Control Program.
He said the flu vaccine may not be even be widely available at this point because physicians, who start giving shots in early October, do not tend to reorder it so late in the season.
Dr. Martin Liss with Secure Medical Care in Gaithersburg said that he ran out of the vaccine mid-December but did not restock because it is rare to give flu shots so late in the season.
Dr. Liss said he has been redirecting patients who still want shots to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.
For those who were not vaccinated, Rohn said, they can better their odds of avoiding the flu by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and washing their hands before meals.
He also said that people should see their doctors as soon as flu symptoms hit and that they should stay home so as not to get others sick.
Rohn said that for a narrow segment of the population most susceptible to the flu — those with chronic conditions and the elderly — the two anti-viral drugs used to treat the flu can also be used as preventive medicine.