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Tis The Season...for the flu

Nov 25, 2014

The holiday season is upon us, but unfortunately another season is also here: flu season. The CDC’s most recent report indicates that flu activity is low across the country, but there are early signs that it is increasing. The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. It is not too late. MedCenter Urgent Care clinics currently still have vaccines available.

The signs and symptoms of the flu can vary, but can include: fever, muscle aches, congestion, cough, sore throat, headache, and fatigue. Nausea and vomiting can also occur, but are less common. The flu is very contagious and is spread primarily by coughing and sneezing. It can also be acquired by touching an object that has been contaminated by someone with the flu. People are contagious for up to one day before symptoms start, and then for up to 5-7 days after getting sick.

The flu can be unpredictable, with some people becoming very ill, while others are only mildly affected. Certain people are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu. These include people with asthma or other respiratory illness, children under age 2, people over age 65, women who are pregnant, and anyone with a chronic illness (such as diabetes, heart disease, HIV, or cancer).

If you begin to have symptoms that might be the flu, then it’s time to visit MedCenter. We can do a flu test as well as any other indicted tests. Once we have determined that you have the flu, we can begin treatment. There are a number of medications for the flu, the most common being Tamiflu. We can also prescribe medications to treat your symptoms, such as cough and congestion medications. Our doctors can also evaluate you for secondary infections, which are common in patients with the flu, such as pneumonia, sinusitis, and ear infections. If any of these are present, then they can be treated as well.

Prior to discharge you will be given a work or school excuse so you can go home and get well. Once home, you will need to make sure you get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Treat the fever and muscle aches aggressively with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Hopefully, within just a few days you will be ready to enjoy the other fall seasons. There are definitely seasons that are more fun than flu season. See you at the MedCenters.