So far 2017-2018 has proven to be one of the most rampant and deadly flu seasons in recent history. Even healthy, low risk individuals are contracting the virus and experiencing serious or fatal outcomes.
Common flu-like symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
The CDC is urging all Americans to take preventative measures against the influenza virus.
1. Get Vaccinated
The first step to protect yourself from the flu is getting vaccinated. The vaccine can be administered by various healthcare providers and is available at medical offices, hospitals, urgent care centers, and retail pharmacies.
Flu vaccines protect against three or four strains of the virus including H1N1, H3N2, B virus, and another B virus component. Most individuals have been affected by H3N2 viruses, and the vaccine does not protect as well against this strain.
The vaccine usually works better against H1N2 and B viruses, but unfortunately the incidence of these viruses is also increasing.
Vaccination is especially important for individuals that are at high risk for contracting the flu and/or developing complications from the flu.
Those most susceptible to the flu include: pregnant women, individuals 65 or older, patients with a chronic medical condition like asthma or diabetes, health care workers, and infant caretakers.
2. Reduce Spreading Gems With Everyday Preventative Measures
In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, there are a number of ways patients can protect themselves in their everyday lives. The CDC recommends regularly washing hands with soap and water. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer will do when soap and water are not accessible.
It’s also important to avoid infected individuals, keep hands away from face, eyes, and mouth, and regularly wipe down all surfaces.
Infected individuals can reduce the spread of germs by covering their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Additionally, patients recovering from the flu should stay home until that have been free of fever for 24 hours.
3. Take Anti-Viral Drugs
If your flu symptoms become worse or you are at high-risk for flu complications, seek immediate medical attention. Your healthcare provider can prescribe anti-viral drugs that can make symptoms milder and shorten the duration of your illness.
The CDC states that it’s best to start anti-viral drugs within two days of becoming sick. However, this medication can still be beneficial if taken after two days, especially to minimize complications in high-risk individuals.
If you would like more information about the flu vaccine or preventative measures, please contact Capital Medical Associates to schedule an appointment today.