As the holiday season approaches, many thoughts are turning to fall weather, falling leaves, and the flu. Keep yourself and your family healthy and protected during flu season by talking to your doctor about preventative measures, like a seasonal flu shot, and by learning more about the influenza virus. Here are five flu facts to help patients learn more about contracting, recognizing symptoms of, and treating the flu.
- The flu, or influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Not to be confused with a stomach bug or other gastrointestinal conditions, the influenza virus affects the lungs, throat and nasal passages and is what prompts patients to receive a flu vaccination with each new flu season.
- While the flu may be mild for some, it can also lead to severe medical consequences, including death, for others. Patients with underlying medical conditions or weakened immune systems, the elderly, and young children are at the highest risk for complications from the flu or for succumbing to the illness.
- Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body or muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. Some patients, particularly children, may have vomiting or diarrhea. Because the flu can be spread from one person to another up to a week before symptoms manifest, recognizing and treating flu symptoms is an important component of protecting the people around you.
- The flu cannot be treated with antibiotics, as the sickness is caused by the influenza virus rather than bacteria. To alleviate discomfort and mitigate symptoms, your doctor may prescribe an anti-viral medication. While medication is not a cure, it can help to lessen the duration of the flu.
- Getting a flu vaccine is one of your best defenses against catching the flu. Within a few weeks of receiving a flu shot, your body begins to produce antibodies to protect against the flu virus. Patients may experience flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccination but will not contract the flu.
For more information about flu vaccinations and the influenza virus, call Memorial Clinical Associates. Our Houston office features a team of qualified and caring doctors to care for your health and medical needs. Visit us online, or call us today at (713) 407-3067 to schedule an appointment.