23 Jan Flu Season is Here: How to Prevent the Flu and When to Visit Your Doctor
Flu season is officially here and more than 46 states are experiencing flu activity. Sadly, the CDC has already announced a higher number of pediatric deaths related to the flu than we have seen in 17 years. With influenza B running rampant and influenza A gaining momentum, the 2020 flu season may be more severe than previously expected. Consequently, it’s important to know how to prevent the flu and when you should see your doctor.
The flu is a respiratory infection and it affects a number of people every year. The flu can be mild, moderate, or severe, and it comes with many unpleasant symptoms. Common flu symptoms include body aches, fever, runny nose, coughing, fatigue, and sore throat.
Unfortunately, many people ignore the precautions they can take to prevent the flu until it is too late. As a result, many preventable situations turn into a dangerous illness. Although certain groups are more susceptible to getting the flu, everyone should stay vigilant while the flu is spreading – especially if your co-workers or loved ones have been sick.
Flu Prevention Tips
Taking steps to prevent the flu is important. Here are 4 flu prevention tips suggested by the CDC.
1. Get your flu shot
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get your flu shot. The flu shot triggers the development of antibodies that protect you from certain strains of the flu. Even if you do become sick with the flu, previously getting your seasonal flu shot may prevent complications and death related to the flu.
2. Wash your hands often
The virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours, so you should wash your hands often. Whether you go to the bathroom, are preparing to make dinner, have just shaken hands with someone, or just touched a public surface, you should make a conscious effort to watch your hands. Additional precautions you can take include using hand sanitizer and avoiding touching your face throughout the day.
3. Disinfect commonly used surfaces
Whether you are at work or at school, disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces helps stop the spread of germs. Carry disinfectant cleaner or wipes with you to disinfect doorknobs, phones, light switches, desks, computers, and even your own home. The fewer germs you come in contact with, the better.
4. Boost your immune system
When your immune system is strong, you can fight infections easier and, if you do become sick, your symptoms may be less severe. To boost your immune system, eat a healthy, nutritious diet that limits sugars and fatty foods. In addition, getting enough sleep, physical activity, and vitamins all contribute to a stronger immune system.
Have Symptoms? Visit Your Doctor ASAP
If you have any symptoms of the flu, spike a fever, or even suspect that you may have the flu, you should visit your doctor immediately. After all, antivirals that treat the flu are the most effective during the first 48 hours after symptoms appear. The flu may begin mild but quickly progress into something far more serious. As a result, you should still visit your doctor even if you have been symptomatic for more than two days. When the flu becomes more serious, antivirals are still beneficial for treatment.
Although there is no cure for the flu, the virus can be treated while it runs it’s course. Your doctor may prescribe antivirals such as Tamiflu to help minimize your symptoms and shorten the duration of the flu. The flu is particularly dangerous to children and people over the age of 65, so it’s crucial to see your doctor as soon as you have any symptoms. Even if you aren’t a high-risk individual, seeing your doctor to treat or prevent the flu can stop it from spreading to high-risk populations.
If you or a loved one is one of our primary care or concierge medicine clients, contact us today. With a focus on preventative medicine, we can help you live healthily, prevent the flu, and treat it if you become ill.