Doctors urge public to get flu shot, warn against self-prescription

Friday, January 18, 2013 - 12:06am

Doctors' offices and emergency rooms around the country are flooded with victims of the flu. The CDC reports the flu has claimed the lives of 20 children across the United States so far. The virus has killed 5 people in New Mexico and 3 people here in El Paso.

"This year especially has been a very aggressive flu virus," says Dr. Luis Muñoz, a pediatrician in West El Paso.

As millions scramble to protect themselves against the virus, more and more Americans are coming up with their own homemade drug cocktails.

People posted pictures of their own crafted flu survival kits on websites like Instagram.

"We don't recommend for people to self-prescribe medication. If they have any symptoms of the flu, they need to call their doctor," says Dr. Muñoz.

Dr. Muñoz says taking different meds is dangerous because the ingredients in each drug can interact negatively with each other, and make you very sick or even kill you. Doctors say there's only one way to protect yourself against the flu.

"We recommend the flu shot for everybody. For those people who don't believe in the flu shot, they need to be vaccinated," Dr. Muñoz says.

"There's some people who like the home remedies. They like the teas and all that. I don't. I prefer to protect them through medicine. Modern medicine," says Guadalupe Perez.

We spoke to parents who say they're choosing to strictly follow their doctors' orders this flu season.

"I've definitely given my kids the flu shot. So then that way, they are fully protected... Or as much as they can be. I think that it's better to protect from certain strains than not to protect at all," says Perez.

"She does go to sleep a little early. And I always make sure that she gets enough sleep. And she drinks a lot of orange juice with her grandma," says Vanessa Bazan.

Health officials urge you to know proper flu etiquette. Remember to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands frequently, and wipe down surfaces lots of people touch, like door knobs, computer keyboards, and refrigerator doors.  

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