Flu season is here, and the best way to arm yourself is by understating the facts. Prevention is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others around you. Knowing and understanding the basics of the flu can help you to avoid a deadly situation. Let’s take a quick look at the facts.
The Symptoms of the Flu
The flu can manifest differently for various people. It is important to know and identify its symptoms. Then, you can stay home and avoid spreading the germs to others. In fact, it is actually possible to pass on the flu before you even realize you have any symptoms. Most patients show some combination of the following:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
Vomiting and diarrhea can also be symptoms but are more common in children than in adults. It is also important to know that not everyone will experience a fever alongside the flu.
In most cases, the only treatment for the flu is to stay home and get rest. Warm fluids can help with a sore throat, cough, and the chills. Over the counter pain medication, such as Tylenol and Motrin, can help with headaches, body aches and fever.
If you experience extreme symptoms, you may need to visit the hospital for monitoring. In some cases, doctors may prescribe an antiviral drug during the early onset of the symptoms. The drug can help those at a high risk for flu-related complications like the elderly or patients with compromised immune systems.
The best thing you can do is try to prevent the flu. Anyone who has had the flu should stay home for 24 hours after their last symptom to avoid spreading the germs. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Avoid touching your face, and help kids remember not to put their hands in their mouth. Use cleaners designed to kill to flu virus around your home to prevent the germs from congregating on common surfaces.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Very young people, the elderly, and individuals with a compromised immune system are most at risk to develop the flu. Their bodies cannot fight off the virus, making them extra vulnerable. They are also often in the group that is ineligible to receive a flu shot.
Get a Flu Shot
An annual flu vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent you or your family from getting the flu. As long as the shot is still available, it is not too late for protection. The shot does not always ward off all strains of the flu, meaning there is still a risk of contracting the flu even with the shot. However, there have been studies showing that even if you do get the flu after receiving the shot, it will be a milder version. The flu shot protects you against the virus, and helps to prevent those around you who may not be able to get the vaccine.
If you experience extreme symptoms, it is always best to consult your doctor or head to the emergency room immediately. A health professional will be able to help you determine if you have the flu virus and if you are eligible for any treatment options.