How to stay healthy during flu season

Story By: Patrick Forrest, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Every year, anywhere from 5-20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for complications from the ailment, according to NLM.gov, the United States National Library of Medicine website.

Although they have many of the same symptoms, it is very important to know the difference between the flu and the common cold. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense.

Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose and colds generally do not result in serious health problems like pneumonia or bacterial infections.

Special tests can determine if a person has the flu. However, these tests usually must be done within the first few days of illness

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated at a local pharmacy, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Anyone with a severe allergy or reaction to a previous flu vaccine, should not be vaccinated. People who have an allergy to eggs should discuss flu vaccination with their doctor, but many egg-allergic individuals can safely receive influenza vaccine.

While a vaccine does not completely erase the chances of becoming ill, it greatly diminishes the odds by protecting against the most common strains of flu as predicted by CDC researchers.

Also, everyday actions can help lessen the odds of becoming infected. Covering one’s nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, washing hands often with soap and water, avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth and avoiding contact with people who are already sick can all decrease chances of contracting the flu.

Also talk to your doctor about anti-viral drugs, which are 70 to 90 percent effective at preventing the flu according to Flu.gov, a site powered by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. Starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.

Anyone who has flu symptoms should stay home and rest. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or if there are things you must absolutely do by yourself. You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

 

Saint Agnes News’ Tips For Avoiding The Flu

-Practice proper coughing and sneezing techniques.

-Make hand hygiene a habit.

-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and wash your hands

-Get a flu shot.

-Don’t share cups, towels or phones.

-Avoid excess stress and get enough sleep.

-Eat a well-balanced diet and remain active every day.