‘Tis the season… flu season. The Doctors talk with Dr. Angela Campbell from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about flu risks and prevention.
“Although flu seasons vary, most people who get the flu will have mild illness. We know that seasonal flu is such a serious disease that every year, unfortunately, we see hundreds of thousands of hospitalization and tens and thousands of deaths,” says Dr. Campbell. The risks are higher in adults 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years old and especially younger than 2 years old, and people at risk for complications.
The single best way to protect both children and yourself against the flu is to get the vaccine. The CDC recommends it for all people 6-months-of-age and older. It’s the number one preventive measure. Other practical precautions that can be taken are frequent hand washing with soap and water or if not available, hand gel, covering your coughs, avoiding close contact with sick people, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork points out that unfortunately, the influenza virus is airborne. If you think you may have the flu, it’s important you do your part to not spread the disease by staying home from work and avoiding public transportation.
The Doctors say that for most people, running to the ER isn’t necessary when they have flu symptoms. Often, a primary care provider is the one who should be contacted. However, if you are in that higher risk category, it is important to get urgent care. Listen to your body and if something isn’t right, seek a doctor’s care to figure out the proper treatment and protocol.
The influenza virus can lead to other issues, like pneumonia, so even though death for an otherwise healthy individual is unlikely, it’s important to pay attention to the signs of this disease. Lastly, it’s still not too late if you haven’t already done so, to go get a flu shot!