Holiday season is unfortunately over, but flu season is not (also very unfortunate). But, don’t let the coughs and fevers keep you down in the new year. At GoHealth Urgent Care, they’re prepared to get you and your family feeling better faster. P.S. It’s not too late to get your flu shot (and they’re free at GoHealth UC with most insurance).
How to Stay Healthy this Flu Season:
Besides getting immunized, there are several things you can do to help you and your family stay healthy during the flu season. The CDC recommends these basic steps:
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you (or your child) stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
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 often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.
Here are three additional tips to reduce your chances of getting sidelined by the flu this winter:
Use a humidifier. Low humidity levels could be a key contributor to the spread of flu viruses so it’s not surprising that humidifiers may help prevent the spread of the flu.
Keep germs at bay. By avoiding the germs that cause the flu, you can greatly reduce your risk of catching it. Specifically, a combination of face mask usage and hand hygiene has been found to be effective, as can staying at least six feet away from infected persons.
Monitor flu activity. So you know when you should be on high alert, check out the CDC’s weekly United States flu map, which allows you to view the most recent flu activity by state.
How To Distinguish A Cold From The Flu
Comparing cold symptoms to flu symptoms is usually the best way to tell which ailment you may have. Although both are respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses.
A cold can cause a sore throat, cough, and runny or stuffy nose. Generally speaking, the flu is worse. In addition to those symptoms, the flu can cause fever and/or chills, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Influenza can also result in more serious health problems, such as pneumonia or bacterial infection.
When comparing flu and cold symptoms, note these three key differences:
Onset: The flu comes on quickly, while a cold develops gradually, usually with a sore throat and runny nose.
Fever: A common cold rarely results in a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Flu symptoms, however, usually include an initial fever. Coughs and body/muscle aches are also more common with the flu.
Timing: Flu season generally lasts from fall to spring of the next year.
When To Get Help To Diagnose, Treat or Prevent the Flu
Despite these differences, it’s sometimes impossible to tell if it’s the flu or a cold without a medical professional performing a special test within the first few days of illness. This is important for treating the flu; your health care provider can prescribe anti-viral medications to lessen the symptoms, but they are most effective when administered within two days of onset.
Regardless of age or preexisting health conditions, anyone can get the flu. Some people however are more at risk of not only getting the flu, but also contracting serious conditions because of it:
People 65 and older
People with chronic medical conditions
That’s why it’s so important to get a flu shot. It’s the best way to avoid the flu yourself, and to protect others from getting it. At GoHealth Urgent Care, they also have rapid flu tests available—no guessing games required. View wait times and save your spot online here.
Cheers to a healthy 2019!