Changing leaves, pumpkin spiced lattes and…the flu. Yes, flu and cold season is upon us (again). But this year, give all those aches, sore throats, chills and fevers the cold shoulder by getting your annual flu shot.
Flu season has already begun; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises on getting a flu shot at the start of the season to ensure you’re completely protected from the influenza virus. Luckily, eMedical Urgent Care offers convenient hours – we are an after-hours doctor’s office and open on the weekend as well – to allow you to be seen when you need it most.
Protect Against the Flu Epidemic
Did you know that according to the CDC, rates of the influenza virus are climbing quicker than the past 3 years, and are on track for a particularly brutal flu season? Not only that, but as of late December last year, enough cases were reported nation-wide to declare the 2014-2015 flu outbreak an “epidemic”.
Flu shots are your best protection against the flu. And because the influenza virus(es) changes every season, it’s important to get vaccinated every year. In addition to getting vaccinated, you can do more to fight the flu with a few healthy steps:
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of germs.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you sneeze to avoid spreading germs.
- Keep surfaces and objects clean and disinfected. Wash pretty much everything you touch including phones, microwaves, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, bed rails, remotes, toys, etc.
- Avoid close contact with others who are ill. A recent study from MIT revealed that infections droplets from coughs and sneezes travel much farther distances that previously thought. If someone near you sneezes, turn your head away!
- Rethink that drink. Excessive alcohol suppresses the immune system reducing the body’s ability to fight off bacteria.
- Steer clear of sugars which slow your body’s defense system (similar to alcohol) from destroying bacteria and viruses.
- Get some fresh air (yes, even if it’s cold out). One of the reasons we get sick more often in the winter is because we’re sharing more recycled air. Open a window or take a walk outside – just be sure to bundle up! Also, consider investing in an air purifier to remove or inactivate bacteria and viruses in your home.
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick to avoid spreading the sickness to others.
How Do You Know if You Have the Flu?
Symptoms of the common cold and the flu can often be confused. But common symptoms of the flu include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or congestion
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
What if I get the Flu?
Getting the flu is common, and in most cases with proper rest, hydration and over-the-counter treatment, symptoms should diminish in a few days. For high-risk individuals (children under two, adults over 65, pregnant women, those who are already sick), anti-viral prescription drugs may need to be prescribed by a doctor.
It’s important for eMedical Urgent Care patients to keep in mind that an influenza infection will affect everyone differently; for some of us, it could be just a low fever and body aches, but for others, it could result in other health related issues such as upper respiratory infection (URI) and even hospitalization. When in doubt, always contact a physician immediately.
While visiting a walk-in medical clinic for treatment after symptoms arise is always an option, eMedical recommends taking preventative measures by getting your flu shots early on in the season. Don’t wait for the attack of the brutal flu season. Protect you and your children with a flu shot, today. Because… the flu doesn’t take days off, and neither do we.