From the common cold or an ear infection to a sprained ankle or an annoying cough that will not go away, you may visit your doctor periodically over the course of a year. Unfortunately, you may not be placing enough time and care into preventing or treating the flu. Considering that an estimated 15 percent of the population can develop the flu in any given year, proper understanding of this dangerous condition is key. With this guide and the help of your doctor, you will understand how the flu develops and what you can do to prevent and treat this common problem.
It Quickly Goes Viral
Videos, memes, and articles can quickly go viral, since so many users of social media share the content online. The influenza virus can also go viral quickly.
Influenza spreads through the upper and lower tract of the respiratory system, which can cause you to sneeze, cough, and breathe the virus into the air. Since it is so easily spread, the flu virus is very contagious.
It is important to note that symptoms of the flu will vary with each person and each strain of the virus. Here are a few of the most common symptoms of the flu:
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Sore, Swollen Throat, Difficulty Swallowing
- Muscle Aches
- Chills, Possible Fever
In some cases of seasonal influenza, you may develop diarrhea and vomiting. If you are suffering with fever, cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting, you may have Gastroenteritis. Also known as the stomach flu, Gastroenteritis is caused by a different virus from the influenza virus. While it is not as dangerous as the influenza virus, you should visit your doctor to treat your stomach flu.
'Tis the Season
You can become infected with the influenza virus all through the year in the United States. However, the flu most commonly affects individuals in the fall and winter seasons.
Between the months of November and March, make sure to use extra precaution to increase your efforts to prevent the influenza virus.
Prevention Is Possible
Preventing the flu is possible, so consider visiting your doctor each year to receive a flu vaccine. Many people believe this vaccine increases your risk of developing the flu, but that is not the case.
The flu vaccine contains dead elements of the flu virus, which are unable to infect your body. The nasal flu vaccine does contain a living virus, but it is effective for finding and attacking the elements of the flu virus that make you sick.
The flu vaccine is 59 percent effective in reducing the risk of getting the flu. Thankfully, you can reduce your risk of developing the flu even further by following these simple tips:
- Wash Your Hands – Wash your hands periodically, especially if you have made contact with or been near individuals who are sick. Use warm water and antibacterial soap when washing your hands.
- Avoid Contact – Limit contact or completely avoid individuals who are sick.
- Clean – Use antiviral and antibacterial wipes and sprays to sanitize and disinfect areas of your home and workplace.
Treatment Is Imperative
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, visit your doctor immediately. Taking prescription anti-viral medications within the first 48 hours of contracting the flu can reduce symptoms and decrease the total time you will spend sick.
Make sure to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or juices that contain electrolytes. Consume light foods that will not cause nausea or abdominal discomfort. Soup and crackers are great options.
To reduce fever and muscle aches, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen periodically. Wrap up in blankets while resting to decrease body chills.
The flu is a serious illness that requires proper understanding. With proper understanding, you can prevent and treat the influenza virus. If you develop more severe flu symptoms, contact an urgent care center like Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc. for advice.