How to Protect Yourself During Flu Season

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Did you know that about 8% of the US population catch the flu each season? Flu is an illness caused by influenza viruses that affect the respiratory system. It’s contagious, and its symptoms can be mild to severe.

The flu season usually begins when the temperature starts to drop. It falls between the start of fall and the end of the spring season.

Catching the flu can have an impact on your daily activities and schedule. It is crucial to stay healthy and safe during the flu season. Keep reading to learn how to prevent the flu.

The Flu and Its Symptoms

Viruses that cause the flu enter the body through the mucous membranes. It can either be the nose, eyes, or mouth. You can get the virus from touching an infected surface then touching your body.

People infected with the flu are most contagious in the first three days of their illness. Healthy adults can infect others one day before symptoms appear. Children and people with weak immune systems can also pass the flu for longer than seven days.

Symptoms can sometimes appear two days after the virus enters the body. A person may pass the flu before knowing they are sick. A person without flu symptoms can spread the illness to someone else.

Flu symptoms develop over two to five days. The symptoms can even continue to progress for a week or more. Symptoms start with a sudden appearance of a high fever.

Another symptom of the flu is a dry cough. Body ache, especially in the head and the lower back area, may be symptoms of the flu. The feeling of extreme weakness and tiredness also comes with the flu.

Other symptoms can be chills and a fever. A person with the flu may feel very cold, shiver, or even shake. The alternating feelings of very cold and very hot can also mean the presence of flu.

Loss of appetite is another symptom that occurs in people with the flu. It accompanies other symptoms like nausea or vomiting. The person’s appetite returns after the person recover from the virus.

Flu Season

Flu season starts when the temperature drops. This season results in over 9 million flu cases each year.

The flu or influenza can cause mild to severe illnesses. People often compare it to the cold because of their similar symptoms. Flu symptoms are usually severe compared to the common colds.

During these times, health professionals distribute resources that help people understand the flu. Examples include flu prevention guidelines and literature. They also add hand-washing techniques and the benefits of flu vaccinations.

Groups at high risk for developing flu symptoms include children and the elderly. The change in older people’s immune defense leads to severe flu symptoms. Pregnant women can also experience complications when infected with the flu.

Influenza viruses that cause the flu may go around throughout the year. It can infect a few people during this time. Winter triggers the flu to be more active and contagious.

Low temperatures cause a spike in flu cases. The virus lives longer indoors in the winter. While the flu is indoors, more people inhale it.

People interact more inside during the colder seasons. The close contact with each other makes it easier for the virus to spread.

Diagnosing the Flu

Knowing if you have the flu is crucial in getting the proper treatment. The symptoms alone do not mean you have the flu. A visit to the doctor will tell you whether you are sick with the flu.

There are some tests available that can detect flu-causing viruses. The most common ones are the RITDs or the rapid influenza diagnostic tests. These tests can provide results in 10-15 minutes.

After an evaluation, the doctor may diagnose you without the flu test.

For flu tests, a health care provider administers the RTDs. The test needs a swab from the nose or at the back of the throat.

Flu Treatment

Rest and plenty of fluids are the usual treatments for the flu.

Getting more sleep will help the immune system fight the viruses in the body. A change in the activity levels can also help with quick recovery.

Drinking plenty of liquids helps in preventing dehydration. You can drink water, juice, or electrolyte-containing drinks to help with hydration. This step can also help relieve congestion.

Pain relievers can help reduce the pain and fever that comes from the flu.

How to Prevent the Flu

Flu prevention starts with good hygiene. You can keep your hands clean with proper hand-washing techniques. Soap dispensers at QBIC Washrooms make hand-washing quick and easy.

Avoiding close contact with other people reduces the spread of the flu. If you have flu symptoms, it’s best to stay at home. It’s also best to avoid crowded places during the flu season.

When outside, you can cover your mouth and nose. Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue immediately after use to prevent the spread of flu.

Don’t touch the eye, nose, or mouth when outside. These body parts are the entry points of the flu-causing viruses. Make sure your hands are clean by washing or by using disinfectants.

Clean and disinfect the surfaces people touch to kill the virus. Do this step wherever you go. Having disinfectant wipes or sprays can make the process easier.

You can prevent getting the flu with an influenza vaccine. This step is the most effective way to stop the flu.

Get the flu shot by visiting the doctor or the pharmacy. The process involves an injection in the upper arm. The type of shot may vary depending on the person’s age and health status.

Pregnant women can get the flu shot anytime during their pregnancy. The flu shot can protect the mother and the baby after birth.

Protect Yourself From the Flu

These are the ways how to prevent the flu. Follow this guide to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching it. Remember that taking preventive steps will reduce the risk of the illness.

Learn more tips and guides on health and lifestyle by reading more of our articles. We also cover topics on fitness, business, finance, and so much more.

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