We have seen an increase in the number of flu cases this past week at our Urgent Care clinic in Spring Hill. The purpose of this article is to refresh your knowledge about the Flu and what you can do to combat this seasonal illness.
10 Key Facts About the Flu:
1. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus that infect the nose, throat and sometimes lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness.
2. People with the flu often feel some or all of the following symptoms. Fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, sometimes nausea and vomiting.
3. Flu spreads with cough, sneeze, or close talking. Also by touching surfaces that contain the virus and then touching your face.
4. Period of Contagiousness; Most contagious in the first 3-4 days of symptoms. I is possible to infect others 1 day before symptoms and 5-7 days after becoming ill.
5. Onset of Symptoms; The time when a person is exposed and infected with the flu, to symptom onset is about 2 days. This can range from 1-4 days.
6. Complications of Flu; This can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes
7. People at High Risk; Anyone can get the Flu, but some people are at high risk for serious complications. This includes individuals above the age of 65, any age with certain chronic conditions including but not limited to Asthma, Diabetes, or Heart Disease. Pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years.
8. Preventing the Flu; First and most important step in flu prevention is to get a Flu Vaccine. Flu Vaccine has been shown to reduce Flu related illnesses and the risk of serious Flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. Also, everyday preventive actions like avoiding people who are ill, covering cough and sneezes with your arm, and frequent hand washing.
9. Diagnosing the Flu; It is difficult to distinguish Flu from other viral or bacterial respiratory illness based on symptoms alone. Rapid Testing is helpful, however not 100 percent accurate. The combination of symptoms and testing will determine best course of action.
10. Treating the Flu; There are influenza antiviral drugs that can be used and are more effective when started within 48 hours of symptoms. Discuss with your Doctor and Pharmacist.
The Bottom line
The flu is here and the CDC has designated Florida as a widespread state as of week 52.
New cases are being diagnosed everyday in multiple medical facilities in our community. Still time to vaccinate. See your Doctor early if you suspect your symptoms might indicate the Flu.
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Stay healthy my Friends!