Staying Healthy During Flu Season

It is here again, and this year Flu season is making a big impact. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has classified this season as severe based on early data and there aren’t any signs of it slowing down. Influenza, “the flu”, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus that can result in mild to significant illness and may even lead to death. Here are some facts and suggestions to keep you Flu-free and healthy!

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish – however not everyone with the flu has a fever
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea – this is most common in children and may lead to severe dehydration quickly

Seek medical attention or call 911 immediately if you or someone you are caring for experience any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficult to arouse – it is normal to be tired and sleep is a great thing to help you feel better, but if you cannot wake someone up call 911
  • Severe or persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • If you or someone had Flu-like symptoms that improved but then returned with fever and worse cough

Think you or someone in the house has the flu…

  • Getting plenty of rest – kick your feet up (you deserve it) and limit your exposure with others in the house
  • Drinking clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks (diluted with water), or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
  • Placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
  • Putting a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
  • Gargling salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat
  • Covering up with a warm blanket to calm chills, turn up the heat if you can (sweat it out…remember to rehydrate)
  • Over the counter medications are great to reduce the symptoms of the flu, however please read the label if you are purchasing multiple medications. Many of them contain the same or similar ingredients and taking too much can cause serious health problems. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions about what to take.
  • There are prescription antiviral medications available from your doctor if you have the flu. They work best if taken early, but no medication is without side effects, so please be sure to ask your doctor what those side effects are.

Don’t have the flu and want to keep it that way…

  • Get vaccinated. If you are not sure where, click here and type in your zip code.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Try to avoid, or at least limit close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food. Good health habits protect you from more than the flu.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers may dry your skin out, so keep your hands pretty with a moisturizer. Intact and healthy skin is the primary barrier from all kinds viruses and bacteria that will make you sick from entering your body.
  • Invest in a disinfectant to clean common areas and items frequently handled such as bathrooms, children’s toys, cellphones, keys, steering wheels, etc. Make sure you read the directions for proper and safe usage.

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