Winter, spring, summer, fall, and flu: the big seasons we all talk about every year. While the first four are typically talked about in a positive manner, the last, the flu season, is less well regarded. Here at TrustCare Express Medical Clinics, we understand that flu season is a serious issue that needs to be addressed every year, with every person in the home.
What Is Flu Season?
Flu season is typically defined as beginning in October or November and lasting as long as well into May. While the flu can be detected in patients at any time throughout the year, we see the highest concentration of the illness throughout these months. 2017 has been an unusual year, in that we saw isolated cases of flu throughout the summer. It is hard to say if the 2016 season lingered or if the 2017 season began early.
Is It A Cold? The Flu?
A lot of people categorize the flu and a common cold as one and the same. While some of the symptoms may be the same, the flu tends to present with more intense symptoms, and they often come on very quickly. And unlike the common cold, the flu is actually an upper respiratory infection that can be serious and even deadly. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. A visit to your healthcare provider and a simple test can determine whether the cause of this is the influenza virus or just a cold. Other more intense symptoms that could warrant a trip to the emergency room include difficulty breathing, severe irritability in children, difficulty eating, chest pain, dizziness, severe vomiting, and confusion.
How Can I Prevent The Flu?
The first step in flu prevention is an annual flu vaccine. This is the most important way to prevent getting the flu, or even lessening the symptoms and duration if you happen to contract the illness. Adults should get the vaccine as soon as it’s available, typically beginning in late September or early October, and children starting at age 6 months. But it is never too late to be vaccinated.
Have you heard the term “herd immunity?” It is defined as the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that occurs when a sufficient percentage of the population is immune to the disease, typically by vaccination. In other words, the vaccine is most effective when more people receive it, so it’s important to do your part in helping vulnerable members of the community and protect others who cannot receive it. In addition to the vaccine, it’s important to wash your hands frequently, disinfect areas of your home and personal items if you are sick, stay home if you’re not feeling well, keep children home if they are not well, and use tissues to cover your mouth and nose if you cough and sneeze.
Stop by any convenient TrustCare Express Medical Clinics location to receive your annual vaccine and more information about the flu in your community.