Flu Season Is Here, Let’s Prepare!
The turn of the season signals the start of the flu season, an illness we should we never take lightly. However, this year we need to prepare even better as we are still battling a pandemic.
Because COVID-19 is still spreading in our communities, we need to do our best to reduce the spread of other respiratory illnesses like the flu.
The Impact of Flu Season in America
Per CDC estimates, last year’s flu season resulted in:
- 38 million illnesses
- 18 million doctor visits
- 405,000 hospitalizations
- 22,000 flu-related deaths
Although some groups are more vulnerable than others, the truth is that the influenza virus affects all age groups. For example, last season, the most affected age groups were young children (0-4 years) and adults ranging from 18 to 49.
The Flu, A Cold, Or COVID-19, How to Tell the Difference
Different respiratory viruses cause the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19, but they share some symptoms.
The following chart can help you differentiate the symptoms. However, it’s important to always speak to your doctor if you have severe respiratory symptoms or if you think you may have COVID-19.
Symptoms Can Range from Mild to Severe
Gradual Onset of Symptoms
Abrupt Onset of Symptoms
Shortness of Breath
Sometimes (with mild/moderate infection)
New Loss of Smell or Taste
Aches and Pains
Sometimes (especially in children)
You Can Help Prevent the Flu
Altus Emergency Centers is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention #FightFlu campaign to help stop the influenza virus spread.
Preventing the flu starts with each of us, so here is how we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe:
Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first line of defense. This year more than ever, it would be best if you got yourself and your family vaccinated.
The CDC recommends everyone 6-months or older get an annual flu vaccine. Together we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.
Wash Your Hands
By now, we’ve all gotten into the excellent habit of washing our hands frequently. Harmful bacteria and viruses thrive on surfaces and objects that our hands come in contact with. If we touch our eyes, nose, or mouth with dirty hands, these germs can enter our bodies and make us sick.
The more often we wash our hands, the less risk we have of getting sick.
Keep Your Distance
Like the novel coronavirus, the influenza virus spreads through tiny droplets expelled when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes.
Keeping a physical distance of at least 6-feet between you and others will help reduce the risk of getting the virus.
Continue to Wear a Mask in Public if You are Sick
If you are sick, it’s best to stay at home but if you seem to just have the sniffles and need to go out please consider the use of a face mask. Using a mask in public helps reduce the number of droplets we expel. The more people wear them, the less risk we all have of getting infected.
If You Get Sick, Speak to Your Doctor About Antivirals
If you get the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications. Although they won’t cure, these medicines can reduce symptoms, make illness milder, and shorten the time you are sick.
When to Visit Altus Emergency Center
If you happen to get sick with the flu, you should monitor your symptoms. If they are mild to moderate, you won’t need to visit the ER. However, should you develop any of the following signs, you should immediately come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center.
Influenza is a serious viral respiratory illness that should never be left untreated, as it can quickly develop into other more severe conditions.
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or severe abdominal pain
- Sudden dizziness
- Vomiting that won’t stop
Altus Emergency Centers is committed to helping our communities stay healthy. We are open 24 hours every day of the year. Rest assured, our facilities follow strict sanitazing protocols to ensure all our patients’ safety.