Be Flu Smart
Our EvergreenHealth infectious disease experts offer these tips for flu season.
Primary symptoms of influenza are fever, fatigue, aches and pains, chills and cough. The flu is usually at its worst for 3 to 4 days, though recovery can take 7 to 10 days.
If you get the flu, stay home! You are still contagious, and you’ll recover more quickly if you get some rest.
See a doctor if you develop any of the symptoms listed below, as it may be a sign that the influenza has developed into something more serious, like pneumonia.
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent fever
- Vomiting or inability to keep fluids down
- Painful swallowing
- Persistent coughing
- Persistent congestion and headaches
PREVENTION / LOWER YOUR RISK
There’s not a whole lot that medicine can do to treat the flu once you have it, but there are several things you can do to lower your chances of getting the flu in the first place.
Get an influenza vaccination.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each fall. In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated, but it is highly recommended that those who are at high risk of having serious flu complications get an annual vaccination. Those groups include:
- All children 6 to 23 months of age
- Persons 2 to 64 years of age with chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, kidney disease or diabetes, or on long-term aspirin therapy
- Persons 65 years of age or older
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- All pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
- Health care personnel who provide direct patient care
- Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age
Avoid close contact.
Stay away from crowds during flu season. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from viruses and bacteria. Use an alcohol-based gel if you don't have access to water.
Clean shared surfaces frequently.
Viruses can live on surfaces such as phones and keyboards for several hours.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
This prevents germs from entering your body.
Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Eat a nutritious diet.
A well-nourished immune system is better able to fight off infections.
Regular exercise boosts the immune system. People who exercise may still catch a virus, but they often have less-severe symptoms and may recover more quickly