It’s that time of year again. Flu season. Let’s demystify why we get it, how we get it, how to get rid of it, and more importantly how serious is it.
The cause of Influenza is from a virus. There are three types of the Flu virus; Type A, B and C. We become infected with the flu when someone sneezes, or coughs near us, and we breath it in. We can also catch the flu by touching an object like: a door knob, silverware, television remote, computer keyboard, or phone. Then if we touch our nose, eyes, or mouth, there is a good chance we will catch it.
The flu season can start as early as October, usually reaches its peak in February and ends in May. If we are unfortunate enough to get the flu, it usually lasts one to two weeks.
The symptoms include: fever, chills, muscle aches, a dry, non-productive cough, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue.
Unfortunately, there is no cure to the flu once you get it. The treatment is just supportive care, to reduce the symptoms, as your immue system fights the influenza virus. Tylenol or Ibuprofen can be used for the headaches, and body aches. An over the counter allergy medication can be used for the runny nose and congestion, and gargling with warm, salty water can help with the sore throat.
To make the warm, salty water for gargling, put 1 tablespoon of table salt in the bottom of a 8 ounce glass. Pour 6 ounces of warm water into your glass. (Never use hot water, you will burn your mouth and throat.) With a spoon stir the salt water mixture until the salt is completely incorporated into the water, then gargle with it a few times every couple hours, until your sore throat is gone. Drink plenty of fluids, like nutritional juices and water, and rest, rest, rest.
So how do you avoid getting the flu?
* Avoid close contact with sick people.
* Wash your hands, often, for 45 seconds, with warm water.
* Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough.
(Sneeze and cough into your bent elbow.)
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
* Clean and disinfect surfaces often.
When should you get your flu shot? The earlier, the better. You want you immune system to be able to make enough antibodies to fight the flu virus, if it is exposed to it during the season. Flu shots are offered in September of each year. You should have your flu shot by November. The influenza virus is responsible for 36,000 deaths in the United States each year, and more than 200,000 hospitalizations. Influenza is a serious health issue.
We, at Saltzer Medical Group, wish you Health, and Happiness this Holiday Season.
Dr. Yvette Cressey D.O.
Dr. Cressey practices at our Meridian location, next to St. Luke’s Meridian. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Cressey call 884-2920