Well it’s that time of the year and flu is widespread throughout Nebraska and most of the United States, so now is a good time for a little “flu refresher”.
What is the flu?
Flu is a very contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It causes mild to severe illness and complications, such as bacterial pneumonia and worsening of preexisting conditions can sometimes lead to death. Although anyone can get the flu, people at highest risk are those over 65, people with preexisting medical conditions, pregnant women and younger children.
What are some flu symptoms?
Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea/vomiting. These symptoms can come on quickly and people can have some or all of these symptoms. It’s important to remember that not all people with the flu will have a fever.
How does the flu spread and what is the period of contagiousness?
Flu viruses are mainly spread by tiny droplets in the air when people cough, sneeze or talk. Sometimes if a person touches a surface with virus on it and then touches their mouth the flu can be transmitted to them. Average onset of flu symptoms is 2 to 4 days and people are most contagious for the first 3-4 days after symptoms although someone can infect another person as early as 1 day before their symptoms develop.
What is the best way to prevent flu?
A number of products claim to reduce the chances of getting the flu but by FAR the most important step in preventing flu is to get a vaccination. In addition, the Centers for Disease control recommend every day preventative actions like frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying away from people who are sick. If a person contracts the flu, medications are available to help shorten the duration and lessen the severity of the illness.
Flu season generally runs from December through March or even May and it is not too late to get vaccinated. Your medical provider or pharmacy normally stock more than enough vaccine so if you haven’t vaccinated you still have time.
For more information visit http://www.alliancecrx.com/
and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/alliancecommunitypharmacy/