How to Avoid the Flu
How to Avoid the Flu
The dreaded flu season is fast approaching, and we know nobody wants to feel miserable for 2 whole weeks, and if you are a parent then you know it is going to be a domino effect, one by one everyone in the household will fall ill.
The flu isn’t a simple cold, the symptoms are much more severe and for those individuals who are high-risk: adults over the age of 65, children under the age of 6, women who are pregnant or anyone with a chronic disease like diabetes, asthma, or cardiovascular disease, complications from the flu can prove deadly.
As part of our ongoing commitment to help the members of our community stay healthy and avoid the flu (influenza) and other viral infections, the medical staff at Altus Emergency Centers would like to share some important facts and safety tips to avoid getting bedridden this season.
Not so Fun Facts About the Influenza Virus
Know the Flu Facts
- The flu is caused by various strains of the virus that mutates constantly, this is the reason why a new flu vaccine is released every year.
- It is estimated that anywhere between 140,000 to 710,000 people are year are hospitalized due to the flu.
- The CDC estimated that the number of deaths associated with the 2017 – 2018 flu season at 80,000 which was a significant increase in relation to the previous years 2015-2016 which was between 12,000 and 56,000.
- As of October 27th, 2018, the CDC has reported a total of 185 pediatric deaths for the 2017-2018 season.
- The flu virus can travel up to 6 feet with every time someone infected coughs or sneezes.
- An individual can be contagious 1-4 days before symptoms manifest and can remain contagious for another 5-7 days after symptoms begin.
How to Avoid the Flu Season Blues
The flu is a viral respiratory illness. This means that anyone can easily become ill by coming into contact with airborne droplets from an infected individual. Due to the fact that contaminated droplets can travel up to 6 feet when someone coughs or sneezes, it is very difficult to avoid contact altogether, but there are ways to safeguard yourself and your loved ones to avoid the flu.
Get Vaccinated as Early in the Season as Possible
You can still contract the virus from someone else up to 2-weeks after getting vaccinated, so early vaccination is important.
The yearly flu shot will protect you from 3-4 flu strains that are predicted to cause the most damage that year. Also, it can help you recover from the illness faster, often avoiding 2-4 days in bed. Most importantly, it helps prevent serious complications from the flu such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear or sinus infections. The small prick of a needle is better than days or weeks of agony. Avoid the flu by getting vaccinated early on each year.
Become Obsessed with Good Hygiene
Avoid the flu and other viruses by washing your heads with soap and water frequently. This is especially important when you are at work, or after riding public transportation, as you could come in contact with the virus and not know it.
Teach your children to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, and not to share food and drinks with their friends.
If you don’t have access to soap and water, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good substitute, also keep antibacterial cleaning towels handy, so you can clean your desk and other surfaces with regularity.
Take Good Care of Yourself
A healthy immune system will be instrumental in helping your body avoid and fight the flu virus. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University concluded that getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night decreases the chances of getting a cold or flu by 30%.
How do I avoid the flu by being healthy? We recommend that you maintain a well-balanced diet, avoid fatty foods, and too many sweets that are plentiful this time of year, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure to stay away from other bad habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol in excess.
When Should You Visit the ER?
Regardless of how careful you are, sometimes getting sick with the flu is unavoidable, and unfortunately, the symptoms will make you feel miserable for a few days, but, there are some warning signs that could signal flu complications that will require medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, these are not normal symptoms of the flu, if you experience them it could be something more serious such as an asthma attack, or pneumonia.
- Chest Pain, this could be a signal heart disease, and you should get immediate medical care.
- A persistent cough especially one accompanied by phlegm, if you notice blood in your phlegm, go to the nearest Altus ER Center immediately.
- If you are suffering from confusion or sudden dizziness, there are several reasons why you could be feeling this way, so, it is best to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
- Severe and persistent vomiting, this could lead to dehydration, and you may require intravenous fluids.
- Pain or trouble swallowing, although a sore throat can be a symptom of the flu if you experience severe pain or have trouble while swallowing, it could be you have strep throat.
- Persistent fever, a fever lasting more than 3 days could mean you have a bacterial infection and require antibiotics.
- If your cough, fever, or other symptoms return in the second week after the onset of the flu or if your symptoms never get better and instead become worse, you may be developing pneumonia.
Altus Emergency Centers is here for you during the worst of the flu season and the rest of year 24/7. We hope you don’t fall victim to the flu virus this year, but if you do, and you show any of the above signs, visit your nearest Altus ER. We will be here to nurse you and your loved ones back to health and enjoying the upcoming holidays.
Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency
If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.
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