The flu is everywhere, but it doesn’t have to be welcome in your home.
What is the flu?
People often toss around the term “flu” to describe any kind of mild illness that has symptoms of the flu, such as a runny or stuffy nose or a bad cold. However, the real flu is different.
The flu, also known for its formal name as influenza, is an extremely contagious disease that spreads easily through coughing, sneezing, talking and touching infected surfaces.
What are the symptoms and sides effects of the flu?
If you have ever heard someone describe the flu, you usually will hear words such as “unbearable,” “miserable,” “uncomfortable,” or “yucky.” The real tell-tale symptoms of the flu include fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms last longer than a common cold and the contagious period can range from one day prior to symptoms beginning to 5-7 days after getting sick.
How do I keep from getting the flu?
The best way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot early on (i.e. before October); however, as long as the virus is circulating then it is important to get the vaccine.
Healthy habits can be a great way to prevent the spread of germs, such as:
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing
- Washing your hands often with warm water and soap
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Disinfect and clean any surfaces that may have come in contact with people who are sick
- Live a healthy lifestyle – drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food
What to do when you have the flu?
Sometimes no matter what preventative measures you have taken, you can wind up with the flu and it is important to take care of yourself during this time. Here are few things you should do when you are dealing with the flu:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat healthy meals (i.e. chicken noodle soup)
- Take your prescribed medicine
- Relax and give it time
- Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue
- Wash your hands often
The Flu in Dallas-Fort Worth
The 2017-2018 flu season continues to rip through the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Texas Department of State Health Services published the Influenza Activity Map for the week ending February 10, 2018 (shown below).
More than 100 flu-related deaths have been reported in Dallas-Fort Worth and the experts are not quite sure whether we have made it through the worse of it yet. The reports from Texas Health and Human Services show that the flu may be leveling off. Now before you start cheering, keep in mind that this doesn't mean we are out of the woods just yet since we are still experiencing the highest flu activity in a decade. We can only hope that the reported flu cases start to dwindle over the next few weeks.
Please contact your local physician if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms. However, if you are experiencing any emergency warning signs of the flu then please visit Methodist McKinney Hospital’s Emergency Room. We are located right off of West Eldorado and South Stonebridge Drive. The CDC lists the following as symptoms that need immediate attention:
- 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
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