Cold, flu season arrives; what you need to know

ST. GEORGE – It’s that time of year with sniffles, sneezes and stomach “flu” striking many local residents. While it seems everyone knows a family or child who has had a gastrointestinal illness, so far Washington County is just experiencing the common seasonal bugs that appear every year.

“It’s cold and flu season, it’s not unusual to have these go around in waves,” Southwest Utah Public Health Department Public Information Officer David Heaton said. “Where it’s just a stomach bug or a cold or an enterovirus, we don’t really track it.”

However it’s important to be informed, take precautions and know what to look for.

Stomach flu

Gastroenteritis, or gut inflammation, is sometimes called the “stomach flu” although the actual flu, influenza, is respiratory and does not usually have gastrointestinal symptoms, Heaton said. Gastroenteritis tends to increase in colder months when people cluster indoors.

Symptoms can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases of gastroenteritis are caused by viruses, such as norovirus and rotavirus; bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli; parasites, like giardia and cryptosporidium; and food poisoning.

Heaton said common sources of contamination include green leafy vegetables, infected food workers, and improper preparation and storage of foods in the home.

“It is often difficult to differentiate the cause of gastroenteritis,” he said, “although food poisoning typically starts one to 24 hours after exposure and lasts one to two days, while the viral version may last up to a week.”

The greatest risk from all types of gastroenteritis is dehydration, especially in the very young and elderly. Most people recover at home with rest, fluid replenishment and treatment of symptoms. It’s important to try to keep hydrated, even with sips of water or ice chips. Seek medical advice if there are signs of dehydration, inability to keep anything down for more than a couple of days, or uncontrolled fever, Heaton said.


While there have been no reported cases of influenza in Washington County yet this year, there have been a few cases in Utah, said Louise Saw, a communicable disease epidemiologist at the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. Seasonal surveillance for influenza begins in October, she said.

“The sooner you get a flu immunization, the sooner it starts working for you,” Dr. Steve Welsh, family practice physician with the Intermountain Healthcare Hurricane Valley Clinic, said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season in the United States can begin as early as October, and flu vaccines take about two weeks to become fully effective. That means the sooner people are vaccinated, the better.

Generally speaking, everyone over 6 months old should be immunized against the flu, Welsh said. The main exceptions would be those who have had an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine in the past.

“An adverse reaction is not a mild fever or feeling a little ill for 24 to 48 hours,” Welsh said. “If you have developed an actual rash from a flu vaccine, experienced nausea or vomiting, or developed difficulty in breathing, you should consult with your physician before having a flu shot.”

Flu vaccinations are most strongly encouraged for certain groups who are especially susceptible to complications from the flu, including:

  • People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease
  • Pregnant women
  • People younger than 5 years, and especially those younger than 2 years old
  • People 65 years and older

In addition, people who care for or live with others who are at risk should be immunized.

Welsh said:

The more people we immunize, the more we can protect those who are most susceptible to complications, hospitalization or worse. This is especially true with babies under 6 months who can’t be immunized.

Most of us get three or four viruses per year. These are generally colds, and while they can be miserable for a couple of days, they are not what we are trying to prevent with the flu immunization. We are trying to prevent potentially deadly flu. This kind of flu can be scary, especially when we see it in pregnant women, young children and the elderly.

Immunizations are likely still available from your health care provider, and they are available through the Southwest Utah Public Health Department for $18 (nasal spray vaccine $25). They are also frequently covered by insurance. For more information, including vaccine availability, call the Southwest Utah Public Health Department at 435-673-3528 or visit the organization’s website.


According to the CDC, there are several measures people can take to prevent influenza and other “germs” from spreading.

  • Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when people touch something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.


  • Call the Southwest Utah Public Health Department at 435-673-3528 or visit the organization’s website.
  • Find out what illnesses are active in our area at IHC GermWatch
  • Report your cold or flu to the health department here
  • Report a foodborne illness to the health department here
  • Centers for Disease Control influenza prevention page

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • TruthSeeker November 16, 2014 at 3:38 am

    The flu vaccine is pointless. The type of people that this article says that should ‘especially’ get a flu shot are already immuno-compromised and should not get a flu shot. And why would anyone want to inject a child with toxic chemicals and heavy metals and dead animal cells and viruses? Oh because it keeps you from getting the flu? Haha So people think weakening the immune system even more makes you more able to fight the flu? Do health ‘officials’ know the current strain flu of the upcoming season? – no, its a wild guess that is never right. Nothing about the science makes logical sense. And someone people that get a flu shot believing that it works still think people that don’t get the flu shot can get them sick which is contradictory thinking. Who wants to learn about vaccines and discuss why you shouldn’t get them? More children die from vaccines in the US than any other nation and it’s no surprise that we also vaccinate more than any other nation. And as far as adults getting the flu, it’s no wonder that there is a flu season after everyone gets injected with the flu haha.

    All of the ingredients in vaccinations are poisons and information on them can be found at a poison’s unit or environmental health and safety. When they are contained in other products, we hear how dangerous they are to our health, for instance, glycol in paint has been attributed to male infertility, yet this is in vaccines. Mercury was banned from the fillings of pregnant women because of it’s danger. Mad hatters disease was from the mercury. Formaldehyde is a known trigger of throat cancer. And everyone knows that aluminium can make you lose your memory.

    If you took a single ingredient like this and put it into a baby, I guarantee you’d have at least one baby who would die as a result. With vaccines, their tiny little bodies also have to cope with simultaneous viruses and bacteria, which would never happen in nature, and if you consider that at birth a baby doesn’t really have his own immune system. He is protected by placental antibodies and his mother’s milk. A child’s immune system is not fully developed until the age of 6 years. Just like tiny babies who are at greater risk of dying of the natural diseases, some babies cannot cope with the vaccine toxins and just like with any poisoning death, it doesn’t always happen instantly. The body’s vital organs can shut down over time.

  • TruthSeeker November 16, 2014 at 3:43 am

    The ‘practicing’ physician in the article needs more practice. He’s contributing to the problem.
    More people get sick from the flu vaccine than from the actual flu. More people die from the flu vaccine than from the flu. I’ll take my great chances and not take the flu shot.

  • Red Rocker November 16, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Truthseeker needs to stop spreading nonsense that might keep people from receiving immunizations. Every thing she/he claimed is false, i.e., your body naturally produces formaldehyde, and the amount in vaccines is minuscule by comparison.
    I suggest reading the National Institute for Health website. They publish peer reviewed articles that can be trusted
    I realize that medicine and science are hard to understand, so people are inclined to search for easy answers by cruising fringe websites. This gives a sense of control and the feeling of possessing inside information.

    Red Rocker

    • TruthSeeker November 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      I need to ” stop spreading nonsense that might keep people from getting immunization”.? How about the establishment can stop spreading non sense that might keep people from being healthy?…
      I can warn people and they can educate before they vaccinate. If zombies even do any research and thinking for themselves anymore. It wouldn’t be because of me that they don’t get immunized. It would be because they made that decision. For you to say I shouldn’t tell people this, is a form of censorship and you are wrong with that. First amendment. Free speech and free press. Citizen journalism. If someone like me wants to shed light on somethng that the mainstream media won’t, then I can do that. If you think I should be stopped then you would agree with locking up journalists, harassing them and stifling dissent like in Nazi Germany. Things like that are already happening not only with authorities, but people like you who assume the role of this state sucking, totalitarian thanking, socialist saluting, so called good citizen. You probably support the govt with everything without questioning anything…
      Fringe websites you speak of, I haven’t cited any links but I can say that the alternative news gets more viewers, listeners, and readers than the lamestream mainstream dinosaur media. The alternative media is the real media. STG News has a couple good reporters and I’m glad they are free to write what they want and not told they can’t. At least I assume they can. Some people just haven’t learned some points like vaccine truth though.

  • TruthSeeker November 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Red Rocker,
    Just because formaldehyde is produced in the body, doesn’t mean it’s not also a toxic chemical that shouldn’t be increased in the body. Water is good for you but can kill you also. Water toxicity. Swimming is fun, but water can cut you in half at high pressure. Estrogen or other hormones are good for you at the right amount, or can be toxic to the body. Formaldehyde is the same way. We come into contact with it from many sources of which are not being measured. If it’s so safe, then you should eat one of those preservative packets or take a spoonful of it. Formaldehyde isn’t even the point, we can go on about every ingredient. We can go on about brain damaged and vaccine injured children. You name it.

  • Red Rocker November 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Vaccines save millions of lives. Fact. There is no argument to contradict this.
    In America you have the right to be wrong at the top of your lungs without censorship. Intelligent people will continue to believe responsible sources and make up their own minds.

  • TruthSeeker November 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Red Rocker, are you someone that will denounce certain information based on its source, without looking at the info? I can can reference references some material if you take an honest open look at it. Even a long comment comments section on here from another article that we started talking about the Polio.
    Tell me this, why does a new born need a hepatitis vaccine? It won’t be getting a tattoo or have unprotected sex anytime soon. The mother is tested for it before birth. Vaccines on babies is exponentially worse on their little bodies than the same shot on an adult.

  • Red Rocker November 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Regardless of its source, I require scientific information to be peer reviewed and to follow scientific protocol.

  • TruthSeeker November 16, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    In 2010, here is the list condensed down from 1st to 29th.
    # of vaccines and # of under age five mortality per 1000
    1.United States- 36 vacs and 7.5 deaths
    2.Canada- 28 vacs and 6 death
    9.United Kingdom- 20 vacs and 5.5 deaths
    18.Switzerland- 16 vacs and 4.5 deaths
    21.Italy- 13 vacs and 3.5 deaths
    29.Iceland- 11 vacs and 2.5 deaths

    That’s age five and under. On infant mortality of live births, the US leads with 6.2 per 1000.

    There is a correlative relationship of the amount of vacs and death and also amount of vacs and auto immune and other health problems Iike nuerological. Autism is a big one of course. Not to mention, vacs have cancer carrying agents in them and over time they are a burden to the body as hormone levels drop. Vaccines don’t save millions of lives. Red Rocker probably thinks Bill Gates is a hero even though his goal is to lower global population with his vaccines. He slipped up and admitted it in a speech.

    Nov 10th 2014
    A PhD immunologist and vaccine proponent admitted during a conference involving health professionals that babies are only given shots up to age one in order to ‘train the parents’ to get their children into the medical system and that the vaccines are completely worthless.
    2 months, 4 months, 6 months, worthless and damages the baby.

  • TruthSeeker November 17, 2014 at 12:05 am

    A old book by Darrell Huff, How to Lie With Statistics would be a good read for the ones that are still waking up to the games the medical and healthcare industry and vaccine and drug companies plays…
    Polio is a disease that most people think is the great success story of vaccinations. And why do they think that?- I’ll tell you why, because magazine articles, tv shows, corrupt politicians, corporate, execs, all say it was a miracle vac so everyone believed it. It’s that simple. It’s called Propaganda. A man by the name Edward Bernays wrote the book on it and one can learn much of why we see or think what we do in society, from advertising to politics, you name it. I’ll give quick examples of Bernays and the work he did if I’m requested to… Anyways moving on, polio vaccine didn’t cure or stop polio. It’s all lies. Jonas Salk called the 20th century miracle maker and savior of many lives countless lives. Ha it’s bogus..We have been given reports through the mainstream media of the success of the polio vaccine. Virginia States Dept of Health, distributed a folder which tells us that polio vaccines reduce the incidents of polio in the US from 18000 cases in 1954 to fewer than 20 in 1973-78. An article in Modern Maturity from around 20 yrs ago states that in 1953 there were 15000 or so cases of polio in the US. And by 1957, due to the vaccine, the number had dropped to 2499. hOWEVER, during the 1962 Congressional hearings on bill HR10541, Dr.Bernard Greenberg, Head of the Dept of BioStstistics of the Univ. of North Carolina, School of Public Health testified, that not only did polio increase substantially “after” the introduction of frequent compulsive immunization programs, but statistics were manipulated and the statemnts made by the Public Health Service were to give the opposite impression…. Sorry, but you all have been lied to. There is much more on this issue and from.other sources. Do the research but the case we’ve made is clear and will just take more learning about many other things to make it all come together for you. Its more of a personal struggle and breaking down the barriers built into us, than it is debating history and stats. We’ve been so conditioned to think a certain way and just like with the polio scam, there’s more with flu vacs or any others.

    In 1957 a spokesman for the North Carolina Health Dept made glowing claims for the efficacy of the polio vaccines, showing how the disease steadily decreased from 1953-57. It’s figures were challenged by Dr. Fred Klenner who pointed out, that it wasn’t until 1955 that a single person in the state even received a polio vaccine injection .:) Even then the injections were administered on a very limited basis because of the number of polio cases “resulting from the vaccine”.:) It wasn’t until 1956 that polio vaccinations assumed aspiring proportions. The 61% drop in polio cases in 1954 was credited to the polio vaccine when it wasn’t even in the state yet. 🙂 And never the less, by 1957 when the massive vaccination program had taken place, polio was again on the increase. Big time. Just do some research on the numbers…
    Other ways the polio statistics were manipulated to give the appearance of effectiveness of the vaccine:
    1) Redefinition of an Epidemic- More cases were required to refer to polio as an epidemic after the introduction of the vaccine. In other words, you needed 20 cases per 100000 to have an epidemic before the vaccine was introduced. And after they changed that number to 35 cases per 100000. So now it looks as like there are less cases of the epidemic since they redefined what an epidemic was.
    2) Redefinition of the Disease-. In order to qualify classification as paralytic polio mytolitis, the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days after the onset of the disease. That’s after they started the vaccine programs. Before the vaccine programs, the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for just 24 hours.:) What this means is if you walked into a doctors office before the vaccine was taken and you said you’ve had paralytic symptoms for a couple weeks, the doctor would say it’s polio. But after taking the vaccine if you had the same symptoms, they’d say wait a couple months, then it would be polio. Well that would decrease the amount of cases by a lot because people wouldn’t come back or symptoms would dissappear. That’s how statistics get manipulated. Dr.Greenberg stated ” this change in definition meant that in 1955 we started reporting a new disease, namely paralytic polio mytolitis with a longer lasting paralysis.
    3) Mislabeling- After the introduction of the polio vaccine there were other diseases wrongly being labeled polio. Those diseases were at a low occurrence giving tbe impression that polio had disappeared bcus of the vaccine. Another way of reducing the appearance of disease by way of semantics and statistical artifacts, is to simply reclassify the disease. Interestingly, the charts of polio decreased and there was an increase of other similar diseases. They changed the name. 🙂 Viral or Aseptic Meningitis . In 1955-56 polio goes down at the same rate Aseptic meningitis goes up. And at that point in time everyone thought that polio had been wiped out. Nope… See here’s the deal, diseases come and go. Diseases like anythng else in nature follows natural cycles, they come in and reach their peak and leave. And no vaccination program on Earth has ever been able to change that…
    I hear all the but but but buts, but listen to this:
    -Polio disappeared in Europe between 1940-50 without any vaccination programs whatsoever.
    -In 1958, Israel had a massive type 1 polio epidemic after mass immunizations. It doesn’t get any more clear than that Craig, if your reading this. 🙂
    – From the same hearings on HR10541, Massachusetts had a type 2 polio outbreak and there were more paralytic cases in people who were triple vaccinated than those not vaccinated.
    POLIO VACCINATIONS CAUSED MORE POLIO CASES THAN IT CURED. THAT’S A FACT. Polio cases cases come from the polio vaccine. This was a pain in the rear to write down. I hope it helps someone… Oh and how about the best evidence of all, the father of the polio vaccine Jonas Salk admitted thst 2/3rds of the polio in this country came from his vaccine… Amazing!

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