Flu Season: Are You Ready?
Every year, we look forward to several things in the fall and winter seasons: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Holiday Celebrations, and the start of the New Year. Along with all of those happy, exciting things, looms the potential for something much less exciting: Influenza.
That's right, Influenza (or simply: "The Flu") Season is upon us. We're going to talk about what The Flu is, and what you can do to protect yourself and others.
Let's start with some basic Q&A.
What is Influenza?
It's a common mistake to confuse the Influenza virus with the "stomach flu". While they do have some similarities, the common stomach virus typically only has gastrointestinal symptoms. Influenza on the other hand is a virus that gets into the respiratory system and causes infection.
Influenza symptoms include fever, sore throat, severe headache, and all over body aches. Most cases of Influenza last roughly a week. However, in some cases the infection can spread and lead to pneumonia or other serious conditions.
Who does Influenza affect?
While Influenza can affect anyone, there are certain demographics that are more at risk for complications. People over the age of 65, pregnant women, and infants 6 months of age and younger, are most at risk for hospitalization due to Influenza complications.
What can I do to prevent contracting Influenza?
There is no guarantee that you will not get the flu, but there are several steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and those around you.
- Get vaccinated.
- Wash your hands.
- Cover your cough.
- If you're sick, stay home from work or school.
- If you believe you have the flu, head to the Doctor as soon as possible.
Do your research to find out which method of the flu vaccine is the right one for you. You can find out more at cdc.gov.
Proper washing of your hands will prevent spreading from person to person.
Covering your mouth when you cough will prevent dispersing infected saliva into the air.
Staying home when you are sick will help prevent the spread of germs. Going to work, school, or anywhere else while you are sick puts everyone around you at risk. You never know who your germs will spread to next.
There are medications available to help lessen the effect of flu symptoms. However, in order for these medications to be most effective, you should see your doctor as soon as possible after influenza symptoms make their appearance. Taking an AntiViral treatment can lessen the symptoms and shorten the length of time you are sick by 1 to 2 days.
When it comes to Influenza, prevention truly is the best medicine. Take precautions to prevent yourself and others from getting sick this season!
To learn more about the 2015-2016 Influenza Season, visit www.cdc.gov.