Flu season is picking up, and if other parts of the world are an indicator, we might be in for a long winter. General rule of thumb tells you that if you’re suffering from flu-like symptoms, it’s best to stay home and rest until you have recovered. If you’re feeling particularly run down and feel like you might have the influenza virus, you can visit a TrustCare Express Medical Clinic near you for a flu test and medication that may help shorten the length and severity of the illness. Armed with medication, lots of fluids, disinfectants, and hand soap, you’re typically ok to wait out the virus at home. However, there are times when you may need to seek emergency care to help manage the flu.
What Exactly Is The Flu, Anyway?
“The flu” can sometimes be a term people use to describe any sort of bad cold or similar illness since the symptoms can be the same. But it’s important to remember that influenza is much more than just a cold. The flu is a highly contagious virus that infects the respiratory system and kills thousands every year. For some, it’s mild and can have a quick recovery time. Others, however, experience more severe symptoms, and the flu can last for weeks. In addition to experiencing the symptoms that come along with the flu, it can also lead to other serious complications like pneumonia, ear infections, and bronchitis.
According to the CDC, the flu can be spread to others from as far as 6 feet away. It’s most commonly spread by fluid droplets from sneezing and coughing, or even from just talking to someone. Since it’s so easily spread, it becomes even more critical for those infected with the virus to stay away from others and to stay home as long as they are experiencing symptoms. If you do have to be around others or are concerned about spreading the disease to others in your house, it’s important to wash your hands often with hot water and soap, make sure all dishes are thoroughly cleaned with hot water, and any surfaces in the home should be disinfected frequently.
When You Should Seek Emergency Care
Generally speaking, we urge people to stay at home when they have the flu. Limiting interaction with others and doing your best to keep everything clean will go a long way in preventing the disease from spreading. However, there are times that self care and staying home isn’t the best course of action. For most, flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle and body aches, fatigue, and headaches. If, in addition to those, you experience difficulty breathing, pain in the chest and abdomen, dizziness, confusion, severe vomiting, or symptoms that improve but return with fever or cough, you should seek emergency care. If your child has the flu and experiences trouble breathing, severe irritability, fever with a rash, lack of interaction, it’s also important to address them immediately. If you have an infant who appears dehydrated, has trouble breathing, and isn’t eating, seek immediate care.
How Can I Avoid Getting The Flu?
Your best and first course of action in flu prevention should be visiting a TrustCare Express Medical Clinic to get your annual flu shot. Since the influenza strain mutates every year, it’s important to keep your vaccination up to date as they are formulated each year to protect against whatever strain is likely to be spread during that flu season. Flu season runs from October through May, with a typical peak in February.
If you want to learn more about the flu and find out all of your best options to help protect yourself and your family, any of our convenient locations to get your annual flu shot and discuss the most effective ways to keep yourself and your environment healthy.