The flu bug has hit hard this season and is continuing to hit in waves it seems. So with help from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), we’re bringing you some information that could help you this flu season.
So what is the flu?
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness.
So, you don’t have the flu. You don’t want to get the flu. Here are some steps that can help you to prevent you from getting sick this flu season or spread germs that could get others sick.
Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with herms and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Another great way to help protect against getting the bug, is vaccination each year. Click here to learn more about flu vaccines with the CDC.
Oh no. You’ve got a sore throat, a stuffy nose, fatigue, and are coughing. Is it just a cold or did you catch the flu?
Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the two without special tests done. They share so many of the same symptoms, but colds tend to be milder than the flu and generally don’t results in serious health problems.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, through this is more common in children than adults.
**It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
With the flu, complications can develop, such has pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. It can also make chronic health problems, such as asthma, worse. Everyone, even healthy people, at any age, are susceptible to getting the flu. But there are some that are at even a higher risk of contracting the flu and having more of a risk at developing complications; these people include those 65 years and old, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.
What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden Dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
- Being unable to eat
- Has trouble breathing
- Has no tears when crying
- Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
How to Ease Flu Symptoms (courtesy of WebMD.com)
So you caught the flu. So sorry. Here are some ways you can ease the discomfort that you’re in and get back on track to being flu-free.
Stay home and get plenty of rest.
Mind your flu manners. On the first day you have symptoms, call yoru work or school and tell them you won’t be coming in for a few days. You’re sick — and very contagious! Take advantage of down time and give your body some much-needed rest. Curl up on the couch and spend some time reading, watching DVDs, or just cat-napping while your body battles the virus.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Make sure you get more liquids. It doesn’t all have to be water — fruit juices, sports drinks, and broth-based soups (like chicken noodle soup) also count. They keep your respiratory system hydrated and turn that nasty, thick mucus into a think liquid you can cough up and spit out. That’s good — if it builds up in your lungs it could lead to an infection.
Treat aches and fever.
Got fever? That’s because your body has turned up the heat to fight off the flu virus.
Treat it and the aches that come with it with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naprozen. Ask your doctor which is right for you.
Never give aspirin to anyone younger than 19. It’s linked to a condition known as Reye’s syndrome, a serious illness that can damage the brain and liver.
Take care of your cough.
Over-the-counter treatments can calm your hack. Try an expectorant, which turns mucus into liquid so you can cough it up. Don’t give over-the-counter cough or cold medicine to children under 4.
Breathe in steam.
Fill the bathroom sing with hot water. Add 1 teaspoon of an over-the-counter menthol rub and breathe in the steam for several minutes until you feel better. You ca also add a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil. They can open your airways, ease congestion, and make it easier to breathe. There’s no proof, though, that any of these really help with the symptoms.
Sit in a steamy bathroom.
If you’re all stuffed up, sit in the bathroom with the door closed. Let the shower run hot until the room fills with moist steam. Sit away from the water to avoid burns.
Run the humidifier.
If the air in your house if dry, a mist humidifier or vaporizer can moisten it to east congestion and coughs. Don’t use a warm mist because it can promote the growth of bacteria and molds. Also make sure to keep the device clean to prevent mold development.
Try a lozenge.
Sucking on soothing lozenges will moisten and coat a scratchy throat. It may quiet your cough, too.
Saline nose drops or sprays are available over-the-counter at any drug or grocery store. They work, they’re safe — even for kids — and they won’t make your sore throat worse. Put several drops into one nostril, and gently blow the mucus and saline out. Repeat the process on the other side until both are unblocked.
Ask for an antiviral.
You take these drugs when symptoms start. They can lessen and shorten the flu. Call your doctor if you have signs of the flu or think you were exposed, especially if you have a condition like diabetes, heart disease, or HIV that makes you ore likely to have complications.
Don’t bother with antibiotics. They only work against infections caused by bacteria. The flu is a viral infection.
With flu season still running strong, protect yourself and others from catching the bug! Or if you have caught the flu, be sure to take care of yourself so that your body can fight and be well again soon!
**This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice.