Are You Ready for Flu Season?
September 02, 2017
Submitted by Stacey Boyd, MSN, RN, Clinical Manager, Vital Wellness Home Health
It is that time of the year! Summer has flown by and flu season is quickly approaching. We can prepare ourselves by staying educated on ways to prevent the flu, signs/symptoms of the flu, and how to treat the flu.
The best way to prevent the flu is to receive your yearly vaccination. Anyone over the age of six months can receive the flu vaccine. People that are identified as “high-risk” are strongly recommended to receive the yearly vaccine, as well as healthcare workers or individuals that provide care to the “high-risk” population. Many people are nervous about receiving the flu vaccine because they have been told you can catch the flu from the shot. According to the CDC, the vaccine cannot cause the flu. However, you could develop common side effects such as soreness, redness, or swelling to the area the shot was received. Additionally, some individuals may also develop a headache, fever, nausea, or muscle aches after the shot is administered. These side effects typically go away within one to two days.
In some cases, someone may have already been exposed to the flu virus prior to their vaccination or before the vaccination took effect, causing him or her to have the flu. Illness could also be contributed to the vaccine, but the virus could be from a different strain than the strains the vaccine protects against. If this is the case, the vaccine helps to lessen the symptoms and even lessens the length of time the virus is present in your system.
Typically, the flu vaccine is available starting in September or October. You can receive the vaccine at a wide variety of locations, such as:
- Physician’s offices
- Home health agencies
- Flu shot clinics
- Health department
In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, stay away from others affected by the flu virus because it is contagious and is easily spread to others by coughing, sneezing, and even talking. Lastly, remember to wash your hands frequently during flu season to reduce your risks of catching (and spreading) the virus.
Anyone is at risk for getting the flu virus, however, some groups of people are at an increased risk for flu:
Signs and symptoms of the flu:
- Adults over 65 years of age
- People with chronic health conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure)
- Pregnant women
- Young children
Even if you received the flu vaccine or you have chosen not to, you should watch for the following signs and symptoms that the flu commonly exhibits:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
When you are experiencing symptoms, be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Most of the time, people remain at home when the flu bug hits and do not see a doctor unless there is a complication. Some physicians will prescribe an antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu, for the flu virus, which is typically taken within the first 48 hours of the onset of the flu symptoms. These antiviral drugs can help reduce the length of your illness.
Be smart this flu season and remember to get vaccinated!
Vital Wellness Home Health, located at 211 Landmark Drive in Normal, provides Home Healthcare and Private Duty Services to adults throughout Central Illinois. Home Healthcare Services provided by their clinicians are skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, medical social worker, and home health aids. Medication reminders, light housekeeping, and companionship are just a few services provided by our caregivers with their Private Duty Services. Call them today at 309-829-7100 to learn more about Vital Wellness Home Health or visit them online at www.vitalwellnessinc.com.
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