Tis the Flu Season
Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May, but most commonly flu activity peaks between December and March. We are seeing everything from the common cold to sinus infections, ear and upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and confirmed cases of the flu.
HOW DOES THE FLU SPREAD:
· Flu viruses are spread from person to person by droplet when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or inhaled into the lungs.
· Flu virus can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your own mouth or nose
SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU:
People who have the flu often feel some or all of the symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose/stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
Most people will recover in a few days to less than 2 weeks.
TREATMENT OF THE FLU:
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral medications.
- Rest- at least seven hours a night
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco
- Treat symptoms with OTC medications (ibuprofen and tylenol, etc)
If you become very sick and are concerned about your illness, contact your health care provider asap, or see the Nurse located at Brenner Hall on Main Campus or 1st Floor of Branch campus. If it is off hours, contact security to go through the proper channels. Sometimes an antiviral agent can be prescribed. This medication does not treat the virus but can sometimes make the illness symptoms milder and shorten the time you are sick.
- Flu vaccine – best way to protect yourself from the flu.
- Hand washing – several times a day with soap and warm water.
- Cover mouth when coughing and use a tissue when sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Throw tissues away immediately following proper handwashing
- Avoid close contact with others if suspected flu
- Avoid sharing saliva…..sharing glasses, water bottles, drinks, spoons/forks or kissing, etc.
- Disinfect surfaces…..door handles, hand rails, eating surfaces, desks, etc.
- Eat a healthy diet- boosts your immunity!
FLU VACCINE FACTS:
- Flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu.
- Only injectable flu vaccines should be used. Nasal spray vaccine is not recommended because of concerns about its effectiveness.
- There are many flu viruses that are constantly changing, each year the flu vaccine is updated to protect against 3-4 different flu viruses that research suggest that may be most common in the upcoming flu season. These experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance to be able to provide the vaccine in time. With flu viruses constantly changing from one season to the next or even within the course of one flu season there is always the possibility of a less than optimal match between circulating viruses and the viruses in the vaccine.
- It takes 2 weeks from the time you get the vaccine for the body to start producing antibodies to protect from the flu illness.
- Yes, it is possible to get sick with the flu even if you have been vaccinated because…….you may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated ( about 2 weeks). Or unfortunately some people get can become infected with the flu virus that the flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite being vaccinated. The vaccine is not a perfect tool, but it is proven to be the best way to protect against flu infection!
- The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu vaccine every year by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated later is OK too, even if its January or later.
So if you have not gotten your flu shot, it's not too late to do so! The Flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious illness!