Flu Season 2019

What the Experts Are Saying about Flu Season 2019

 

According to the CDC, the influenza or flu activity is increasing in the US. As you may know, the flu virus is a contagious respiratory infection that affects the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs.  In extreme cases, the flu can lead to hospitalization or even death.

What you may not know, is the flu virus is literally everywhere. (Makes you feel safe, doesn’t it?)  If you touched an elevator button this morning, you probably touched the flu. If you used a shopping cart at the grocery store, you touched the flu.  The flu can even be spread person to person from about 6 feet away.

That’s why the flu spreads so quickly, at least to folks who haven’t taken some basic precautions. And when It comes to the flu bug, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. The simple and easy tips below can help you squash the bug this season.

Prevent Infection with Proper Hygiene

 

To keep yourself healthy, wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day. If soap and water isn’t available, use alcohol based sanitizers.  Carrying a small container of hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket can make all the difference.

Avoid contact with people you know are sick.  If you are the sick person, stay home!! Your co-workers will thank you later. Keep surfaces clean with disinfectant cleaners regularly, this includes at work and at home.

Always remember to cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze or cough. Nobody likes to be sneezed on, right? Also, try to avoid contact with your mouth, eyes and nose. The germs are easily spread this way.  Ultimately, it all goes back to making sure you keep your hands clean.

Does An Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

Some experts say yes! Your diet is VERY important when it comes to staying healthy.   A balanced diet can keep your immune system primed and ready to fight off the flu. Make sure you get plenty of healthy lean proteins; chicken and fish are most people’s go to.  Avoid processed and fast food. It has basically zero nutrients for your immune system.

Try to keep a variety of fresh fruits and veggies in your diet also.  Red peppers, broccoli, and sweet potatoes are a few immune boosting foods you may like.  Take care of your gut with probiotics, which you can get in some really tasty foods like yogurt and pickles.

What you need to know about the flu shot.

According to the CDC and the health experts at Humana, a flu shot is still the best way to lower your risk of getting the flu. The shot also helps reduce the spread of flu to your friends, family and co-workers.

The flu shot causes antibodies, that fight off the virus, to develop in your body. It can take about two weeks for the antibodies to develop. This is why the CDC recommends you get your shot by the end of October each year. The flu shot is readily available in most pharmacies, clinics, and even offered by some employers.

It is true the shot is not a 100% guarantee, however, it reduces the risk of getting the flu significantly. If you happen to get the flu even after getting the shot, it can greatly reduce the severity of the illness. According to the CDC, it can reduce your chances of ending up at the doctors or even the hospital by up to 40-60%.

What to Do if You Get the Flu?

If you experience the following symptoms, you may well have the flu. And that means it is time to contact a medical professional.

  • Fever/Chills
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Runny nose and/or congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Sometimes, vomiting and diarrhea

If you cannot see your doctor quickly, urgent care centers are often a very good option for getting tested and treated right away for flu. And early detection and treatment may reduce the severity of your illness tremendously and help you avoid a trip to the ER.

Telemedicine (or Teledoc) is another very convenient way to seek medical treatment quickly and easily. Basically, you video chat with a doctor or healthcare professional, who will then do their best to diagnose and treat you without you ever having to leave your home.  Many primary caregivers, and urgent care clinics offer this service as an alternative means to seek treatment. In many cases you can access this service directly from the clinic website. Your health insurance carrier may also offer Telemedicine, so review our list here, or check your benefits brochure.

 

Important Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm

 

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/prevent-flu-soap-away-germs#1

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm