Information provided by CentraState Medical Center
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting nearly 80,000 deaths due to flu last year, and judging this as another high severity season, there’s no better time to understand the scope of the illness and the significance of flu vaccinations, for everyone. Despite these statistics, the flu shot is effective, providing protection against four strains of the flu and building the immune system in the event that you do get the flu.
What is unpredictable is the timing of flu. It can be found year-round, however, increases in activity typically begin between November and December. The peak of flu activity is between December and February but could last until April or May.
So how can you avoid getting the flu this season? Most importantly, get the influenza vaccination. Additionally, practice healthy habits, including:
- Frequently washing your hands
- Using hand sanitizers
- Cleaning and disinfecting communal surfaces
- Not sharing foods or beverages
- Avoiding contact with people who are sick with the flu.
If you do get the flu, know that symptoms could last five to seven days, generally come on suddenly and are more physically debilitating. Symptoms may include weakness, runny nose, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath and a fever of 100.3 and above. For relatively healthy adults, staying home and getting plenty of rest and fluids, and taking over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help combat congestion, cough and body aches.
When should you seek medical attention for the flu? It is strongly recommended that anyone with the flu who is under age 6, or 65 and older, or has diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, asthma, COPD or other immune conditions or chronic illnesses, go to the doctor immediately. Many people are not aware that the flu can be fatal. If you have concerns about the flu, see your doctor.