The Flu Requires Prevention and Extra Attention
If you haven’t had your flu shot now is the time to take this step to protect yourself and your family.
Most people with the flu experience a mild illness and don’t need medical care. However, for some, it not only can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia, but it can be life-threatening.
Prevention is always our first line of defense. We continue to strongly advise people to get their flu vaccine. While there are several different strains of flu, the vaccine can still play a vital role in reducing the severity of symptoms, even if it does not prevent a specific strain of the flu.
We also advise two primary habits that go a long way to preventing you from getting the flu and from spreading it:
- Hand-washing is still the No. 1 way to prevent the spread of disease. You should wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day, especially after the restroom and before eating, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
- Using a tissue or your arm to cover a cough or a sneeze instead of using your hand is an absolute must. This simple practice will stop the spread of droplets that could be carrying the flu virus, as well as other viruses. Consider the contact you have with germs on your hand as you touch doorknobs, railings, tables, telephone receivers and other items that also are touched by others.
Symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever – though not everyone runs a fever
- Sore Throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
What to do if you or a loved one has the flu
In general, if you have the flu, you should stay in bed, get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, and stay away from other people as much as possible.
You also should not return to work or school until 24 hours after a fever is gone without the use of medication.
There are times when medical attention is advised. Many are included below:
People at high risk of developing flu-related complications should seek medical attention. They include but are not limited to:
- Children under 5 years of age
- Adults over 65 years of age
- Pregnant women
- People with the following illnesses:
o Heart and lung disease
o Liver or kidney disorders
o Metabolic disorders
o Weakened immune systems
There are warnings signs that require either a trip to the hospital emergency department, or even a call to Emergency Medical Services at 911.
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids – no tears when crying or few wet diapers
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty breathing
- 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
Please take extra precautions this season to remain safe and healthy. Do not hesitate to call your healthcare provider if you have any concern at all.
For more information on Beebe’s Population Health team, go to: https://www.beebehealthcare.org/community-outreach/population-health-department