With the threat of COVID-19 still lingering, preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses is more important than ever during this flu season. The best way to protect yourself against these types of infections is through vaccination, however, there are other ways to keep yourself healthy if this option is unavailable to you. During the cooler months where illnesses are more prevalent, it is essential to maintain your health and wellbeing.
What is the flu?
The Influenza virus is a contagious disease that hospitalizes hundreds of thousands of people every year. Symptoms of the flu can range from mild to severe, appear abruptly, and can include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, fatigue, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. Some cases can result in severe complications as well. Pneumonia can result from serious infections, as well as inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissue. In extreme cases, the body responds to the infection with multi-organ failure and sepsis. While the influenza virus can affect people year-round, most infections occur in a specific “flu season” between December and February.
Am I at risk?
While most cases of the flu are mild to moderate in severity, people at high-risk are more susceptible to extreme reactions than others. Those that fall in the high-risk category include people over 65 years old, pregnant women, children younger than 5, those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease or cancer, and others. For people in this group, vaccination against the influenza virus is exceptionally important.
How can I stay safe and healthy?
As mentioned previously, the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated. There are small things you can do to prevent the spread such as regular hand-washing, covering your coughs and sneezes, avoiding close contact with others who may be sick, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs, phones, and faucet handles, and avoiding touching your face. These are all small things you can do to prevent the spread of the influenza virus and other respiratory ailments. You can also help to boost your immune system and stay healthy by getting plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, staying hydrated, and maintaining a beneficial diet.
If you do get sick, be sure to stay isolated for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away without assistance from fever-reducing drugs like acetaminophen. If you have other symptoms such as loss of taste or smell, talk with your primary care physician about getting tested for COVID-19 as well as influenza. Stopping the spread starts with you, and you can protect yourself and others by taking a few simple steps towards a healthy future.
At Roger’s Family Pharmacy, we know that prevention is key to maintaining overall health and wellness. While we do not offer flu screenings or vaccinations, we encourage you to talk with your primary care physician about your options and what works best with your schedule. Click [here] to visit the United States Center for Disease Control’s website for more information regarding the influenza virus. You may also consult your local pharmacist at Roger’s Family Pharmacy at (601) 582-8351 for additional information.
CDC Website Link