Fall is here, and flu season won’t be far behind. Learn the best flu prevention methods, and when it’s time to see a doctor.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and even death. In fact, flu-related illnesses claimed over 80,000 lives just last year! Here’s how to protect yourself and your family this flu season.
Flu viruses occur seasonally (October through May) and spread through droplets in the air when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Follow these simple preventative steps to avoid falling ill.
- The most effective way to fight the flu is to get vaccinated. Flu vaccinations save lives, and the CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. The vaccine can lessen the severity of an illness –if not prevent it all together– and reduce your risk of serious complications.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and disinfect surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. While this step isn’t always possible, it’s worth noting!
A sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue? You might have the flu. Here’s how to handle it.
See a doctor ASAP. Your doctor can run a rapid flu test and if indicated, prescribe an antiviral medication proven to lessen the severity and duration of your illness. When taken promptly, antiviral drugs can reduce the time you are sick by 1-2 days and also prevent serious complications, such as pneumonia.
Help stop the spread of flu. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, limit contact with other people and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except for necessities and to get medical care. When you sneeze and cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue out and wash your hands.