Are You Prepared for Flu Season? Here's How to Fight Flu Germs
While the flu can spread from person-to-person year-round, February and March are the most active months for influenza. Do you know how to protect yourself from flu germs this flu season? These tips will help you learn to recognize the flu, protect yourself from it and understand what steps you should take if you get sick.
What Symptoms Can I Expect With the Flu?
Influenza, also called the “flu,” is a respiratory virus that can cause symptoms such as:
- Sore throat
- Nasal Congestion
These symptoms can occur in many combinations, and you may experience only one or two of them.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
Flu is primarily spread by small droplets when people who are infected speak, cough or sneeze. Strategies for protecting yourself include:
- Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer frequently.
- Covering your nose and mouth with a disposable cloth or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces.
When Should I Seek Help?
Serious health complications caused by the flu are more likely to occur in the unvaccinated, the young, the old, those who are pregnant and in long-term care residents. Common complications of influenza include a high fever, pneumonia, bronchitis and middle ear infections. These complications will require in-person evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Other symptoms that may indicate need for further evaluation are:
- A severe cough that lasts longer than three weeks.
- Coughing up mucus that contains blood.
- A high fever that lasts longer than three days.
- Chest pains or rapid breathing.
- Drowsiness and confusion.
How is the Flu Treated?
Treatment for the flu may include a combination of over-the-counter fever reducing medication, rest, increased hydration and fluid intake and a balanced diet. Sometimes antiviral medications are prescribed, which can help a person’s body fight the infection and even decrease symptoms by up to two days.
InstaCare Can Help!
InstaCare has providers who are ready to support you and your family through the flu season. Visit www.instacarecheckin.com to reserve your spot online today!
About the Author
Elysa Graham, DNP, FNP-BC, is a family nurse practitioner with InstaCare.