As the early spring approaches, you may think you’ve steered clear of the dreaded flu. This is simply not true. According to Texas Health and Human Services, this season’s influenza activity “remains high across the state, with a marginal increase in patient visits due to influenza-like illness and specimens testing positive for flu.”
February is a peak month for flu-like illnesses to spread. When it comes to preventing the flu, knowledge is power. Neighbors Emergency Center is committed to sharing education about the flu to help you and your family stay healthy.
What is the flu?
The flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by an internal virus in the body. The flu virus attacks the body by spreading throughout the upper and lower respiratory tract. Sometimes the symptoms of the flu can be mistaken for that of the common cold. However, the flu brings along a host of additional symptoms including congestion, sneezing and a sore throat. It is also common to experience a high fever that can last several days, as well as body aches, fatigue and weakness.
What causes the flu?
There are several types of viruses that can cause a cold, but only influenza viruses types A, B and C can cause the flu. The flu is highly contagious and can easily spread through contact. You can simply breath it in, or you can get it on your hands from everyday objects like silverware and doorknobs. When you touch your nose, eyes or mouth, the virus can enter your body. Viruses can live longer indoors which is why the flu virus spreads so easily in the wintertime.
How can I avoid the flu?
Experts say the single best way to avoid the flu is by getting a flu shot. The ideal time is early fall; however, any time during the winter will work as well. It is also extremely important to wash your hands! This means using both soap and warm water, and scrubbing vigorously for at least 15 seconds. Keeping your hands clean will remove germs that would otherwise enter your body through contact with your eyes, nose and mouth. Finally, avoid contact with sick people. The flu spreads through microscopic droplets that go airborne. These droplets can easily be inhaled by simply being in close proximity with someone who is ill.
I have the flu. Now what?
If you have the flu, it is important to limit your contact with others as much as possible. Do not go to school, work or run errands as this will help prevent you from spreading your illness to other people. Even if you are feeling better you can spread the flu a full 7 days after your symptoms have started. You should also disinfect and sanitize any surfaces or objects you frequently use to protect your loved ones from your germs. If your doctor prescribes you antiviral drugs, it is important to take them. Certain groups of people are at a higher risk for flu complications. This includes those over 65 years of age, young children, pregnant women and people with medical issues. For these at-risk groups, taking care of yourself properly can be the difference between caring for a mild flu illness and needing hospitalization.
Keep your family healthy this season with these helpful flu tips. Neighbors Emergency Center has many locations throughout Texas. Our board-certified physicians, state-of-the-art technology and onsite laboratory for quick test results make it easy for us to care for your family’s medical emergencies 24/7. Trust your best Neighbors ever for care that counts and experience that matters. See your wait time for any location online now!