There is no doubt we are at the peak of the flu season. It seems as though everyone knows someone who is suffering with flu-like symptoms. With so many people coming down with Influenza A, it is a good time to review what the flu is, as well as ways to prevent and treat it.
There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. Type A and B cause the annual influenza epidemics that affected 20% of the population. Type C also causes flu, but the symptoms are not as severe.
Flu symptoms can come on quickly. Symptoms include:
For those who think they have the flu, it is important to stay hydrated, especially for older people and children. Dehydration is one of the main reasons people end up in the hospital during a bout with the flu. You should also stay home from work if you suspect the flu, so you don’t run the risk of exposing others. Get plenty of rest and follow your doctor’s orders, too. The flu usually lasts 3-7 days, but can last longer if there are complications.
For those who have Wellmark health care insurance coverage, a program called Doctor on Demand is available that enables you to video chat with a care provider in the comfort of your own home. More information can be found at weelmark.com.
The CDC is encouraging those who have not been vaccinated for the flu to do so as soon as possible. However, you should be aware that you are still susceptible to the flu for two weeks following the vaccination.
To prevent the spread of germs, practice good hygiene by washing your hands often and covering and containing your coughs and sneezes. Disinfecting door knobs, handles, phones, keyboards, and anything else that is touched often will also help stop the spread of germs.
For more information about flu vaccinations, symptoms, and prevention, visit cdc.gov.