Surely by now everyone knows that flu season is in full swing. But did you know that influenza activity peaks in January or later? This means that it’s not too late to fight back. By being proactive with your health you are giving yourself the best chance to stay healthy during this flu season.
What is the Flu?
The flu is a respiratory illness caused by an influenza virus, and can infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe and in some cases can lead to death. The best defense against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year before or during flu season.
What are the Symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of the flu will vary depending on the person, and also the level of infection. Common symptoms include:
• Sore Throat
• Runny Nose
• Muscle/Body Aches
• Vomiting and Diarrhea (Most commonly experienced by children)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and think you might have the flu, please contact your doctor. The flu is contagious and can be spread by coughing or sneezing, or even by touching a surface that has been contaminated by someone with the flu. Adults are able to infect others before their symptoms develop, and are even contagious up to seven days after becoming sick.
There are people that are at higher risk of complications from the flu virus. These groups should be exceptionally diligent in taking precautions against the flu virus:
• Older individuals
• Young children
• Pregnant women
• Individuals with certain health conditions (asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)
What can you do to Fight Back?
The best way to fight the flu is by getting an annual flu vaccine. Seasonal flu outbreaks begin as early as October, but activity will typically peak in January or later. It is best to get the flu vaccine as early as possible, as it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective.
If you’ve already had the flu vaccine, there are precautions you should take to help stop the spread of the virus. These include:
• Clean and disinfect areas that may be contaminated with germs (phones, keyboards, doorknobs)
• Wash your hands with soap and water regularly. Use an alcohol based hand rub regularly.
• Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
• Avoid contact with those who have the flu.
Don’t wait to get sick. Be proactive in your health, and do everything you can to prevent spreading the flu this year. If you have any questions, please contact your physician. If you do not have a physician, you may call our Physician Referral Line at: (855) 665-TMCP (8627), or visit our Find a Physician page by clicking here.