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January 17
1994, 4:31 a.m. - Magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake rocks Santa Clarita Valley [video]

Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Jan 11, 2015

DianneErskineHellrigelInfluenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is caused by many different influenza viruses.

If you have the flu, you may experience multiple symptoms which might include coughing, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fever, headache and extreme tiredness.

Across the country, we see as many as 200,000 hospitalizations every year due to the flu. Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months or older receive their annual flu vaccine as soon as it is available. Even if the strain of the virus isn’t 100-percent correctly predicted, the vaccine can still help you fight off the effects of the flu.

Health care workers, the elderly, those with chronic health conditions, the immunocompromised, children under 5, and pregnant women are especially susceptible to the flu.

Bird flu virusPracticing good health habits all year can help you to avoid the flu. Simple things like washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze will help prevent the spread of the flu. Teach your children to do these simple things and to avoid being near people who are coughing and sneezing.

Although antibiotics will not work for influenza, if you seek medical attention immediately (within 2 days of infection), your doctor can prescribe an antiviral medication that can help you get over the virus a little quicker.

493x335_nighttime_cough_rmqThere are many other viruses that may cause similar symptoms. Only your doctor will be able to determine if you have been infected with the influenza virus. Don’t delay in seeking your doctor’s advice. And if you have a change in your symptoms, such as a productive cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

If you’ve not gotten your flu vaccine yet, it is not too late. It is predicted that the severity of the flu might get even worse this season, and we’ve already been seeing deaths from the flu. Underlying medical conditions, your age, and being pregnant means you need to take even more precautions.

Los Angeles County health officials expect the influenza severity to peak in January or February. If you get sick, get evaluated by your doctor quickly. Last season’s flu outbreak killed 404 Californians. Don’t be a statistic.


Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. If you’d like to be part of the solution, join the Community Hiking Club’s Stewardship Committee. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.




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  1. Eric Baker Eric Baker says:

    I have it.. Been over a month now…

  2. Anyone with these symptoms for more than a week should seek medical attention……..pneumonia is deadly!

  3. IM THE GREEN DOT! Stomach Flu! Not fun at all! Got so sick I was dehydrated, sweating, and passed out! It is not fun!

    • Hope you’re feeling better. My son has that. How long did yours last?

    • I am thank you! Back still has a bruise when I passed out and hit the shower handle! It hit me real quick! Started feeling like crap around 8:30pm, started getting sick around 9:00pm, by 11:00pm I was in the ambulance, and at 5:00am I was finally on my way home! Been a little on the weak side the past couple days but over all I’m fine! :)

  4. I wish more people would try Zinc; Prevents, lessons symptoms if already sick, speeds recovery. Turned on to it a few years ago and has been a miracle in our home pretty much. Many cold products “contain” Zinc, but you can get just Zinc. Nature Made for one, makes dissolving Zinc tablets that are awesome.

    • Zinc shouldn’t be ingested unless you have a deficiency or have a need for surplus, as taking high doses can cause a copper deficiency. We get all the zinc we should normally need from wheat and beans, amongst other foods.

    • You are on the right track…zinc rapidly heals soft tissue injuries.. also it’s best not to catch anything in the first place so when I hear something going around I start adding fresh garlic and a dash of cayenne to a cup of soup…like a welcoming committee in case of foreign invaders…also…primadophilus coats your intestinal wall so toxins pass out and thru without taking up resudence…cold and flu. Free 30 yrs now…also an ounce of prevention really is worth more then a pound of cure…!

    • Many people are highly allergic to it myself and daughter included. As a nurse consult with your MD and a registered dietician. Find zinc naturally in foods.

  5. I been battling this flu for 3 months :'(

  6. Only a little Coughing .
    I don’t no if a have the
    Bad one.

  7. Only a little Coughing .
    I don’t no if a have the
    Bad one.

  8. Only a little Coughing .
    I don’t no if a have the
    Bad one.

  9. Cathy Daglas Cathy Daglas says:

    Two words… Flu Shot

    • Terry Morse Terry Morse says:

      Every time I suggest to someone to get a flu shot, I am told that they always get the flu from the shot itself. Even though every medical professional will tell you that the shot contains dead virus.

    • It’s because they think the flu is throwing up, fever and aches..

    • Just BECAUSE THEY TELL U IT’S A DEAD VIRUS U GONNa believe them !? C’mon it’s obvious to see the flu shot IS what’s making people sick , why do u think they pressure everyone to get it ….they want us infected that’s all ur doing ! ,…. Just ask urself this simple ? Why do people STILL get sick from the flu shot if its supposedly a dead virus!!??? It doesn’t make sense !

    • Cathy Daglas Cathy Daglas says:

      Tens of thousands of people die from the flu each year. Not one person has died from the flu shot.

  10. I’m one of the blue dots.. Upper respiratory problems .. Had it since 12/30 just got better a couple days ago

  11. Jason Fox Jason Fox says:

    Got it. Sucks. 2 weeks now

  12. I had it for almost two months. Two trips to urgent care and two,antibiotic courses finally I got well by new year.

  13. Ana Gigi Ana Gigi says:

    Yup. Could also be deadly. Not to take lightly. Just take precautions. And carry on.

  14. Alex Huerta Alex Huerta says:

    I think I had this no joke , like 3 weeks for real. I’m 100 now finally !!

  15. Melissa Humboldt…dusty. Lol

  16. Oh yes, I’m a blue dot….its been going on for three weeks. It’s the cough that is killing me now.

  17. Hani Yacoub Hani Yacoub says:

    Sunny Sidhu Ibrahim Nashaat Ibrahim Magdyy Ibrahim Wissam Saab Ahmad Yacoub

  18. Sherry Alanis Barajas

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