Flu Season is Here

 

Doc's Corner, larger

 

 

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

The flu is here, and it’s earlier than usual this year.  I wanted to take a moment to talk with you about the flu because I have found that many people don’t know what we mean when we say “the flu.”  Many people have told me that they think that the flu means they will have stomach problems, like vomiting, and intestinal problems, like diarrhea.  While this can happen, it usually doesn’t happen with the flu.

What we call “the flu,” short for” influenza”, can be caused by many different viruses which can be circulating around among us at different times.  If you catch one of these viruses, the main symptoms are coughing, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue (feeling very tired), fever, achiness, and sometimes headache.

If you are feeling these symptoms, especially if you are older, have other medical issues, or if the sick person is someone very young, you should go to your doctor to see if you can take a medication that can make the illness less severe.  You should go as soon as possible, the medication is best started within the first 2 days of feeling ill.

This winter the flu virus causing most of the illnesses is a strong one, and they recommend that everyone who can, gets vaccinated to help reduce the symptoms of the illness if they do get sick.

Also, it’s very important if you do get sick that you do your best to not pass the virus on to others.  Be wise, stay home from work, don’t go to the store or other places where you might spread the virus to others.  Especially do not visit older people, babies, women who are pregnant, or anyone who is already fighting any type of serious illness; catching the virus could make them dangerously ill and even lead to their death.

Hopefully you won’t get sick, but if you do, take good care of yourself, drink lots of fluids, stay warm, and get well soon.  Medications like tylenol and ibuprofen can be helpful in reducing symptoms like pain, fever, and aches.

I have included a link to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) weekly flu-tracker website map.  It shows how widespread the flu is in each state, on a weekly basis.  It is interesting and I thought you might enjoy taking a look at it too.

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm

 

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Please note that the above is for informational purposes only, if you need medical advice, please consult a physician directly.

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