RAHWAY, NJ - A wave of arctic air will spread from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast of the United States during the first week of 2017. This morning, Rahway received an awakening that winter is, in fact, upon us. Peaking out the window to see cars covered with snow makes us all curious as to what we should expect in the upcoming week. Accuweather, in partnership with Channel 7 ABC News, indicates that on Saturday our area will receive up to an inch and warns drivers that roads and sidewalks will be slippery but should warm up again early next week.

Not sure if the weather is to blame, but, as the cold air has come to join us, so has the flu. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention weekly surveillance shows an elevated rate in our area. For the 2016-2017 season, CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017. 

If you do get sick with the flu, do not go to work, get rest, stay hydrated and make an appointment with a doctor.  

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Antiviral drugs are prescription drugs that can be used to treat flu illness. Treating high risk people or people who are very sick with flu with antiviral drugs is very important. Studies show that prompt treatment with antiviral drugs can prevent serious flu complications. Prompt treatment can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

Treatment with antiviral drugs works best when begun within 48 hours of getting sick, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness. Antiviral drugs are effective across all age and risk groups. Studies show that antiviral drugs are under-prescribed for people who are at high risk of complications who get flu. Three FDA-approved antiviral medications are recommended for use during the 2016-2017 flu season: oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), zanamivir (Relenza®), and peramivir (Rapivab®). More information about antiviral drugs can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2016-2017.htm

In the meantime, stay healthy and warm.