Flu Season Picking Up – What You Can Do

Flu Season Picking Up

Flu Season Picking Up – What You Can Do

Reviewed & Approved by Dr. Larry

After a Napa county resident died from influenza, Dr. Larry was asked to address the “widespread numbers” of influenza cases this flu season. According to Dr. Larry, 3,000–50,000 people in the U.S. will die of the influenza each year, depending on how bad the virus is and how good the flu vaccination is that year.

This past December, flu numbers spiked dramatically. Those numbers dropped in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, which Dr. Larry believes is due to more people staying home from work or school and limiting their exposure to the virus. Staying home does more than just keep you from getting the flu, though. It also prevents you from passing the virus to others, causing widespread flu outbreak.

When to Stay Home with the Flu

Symptoms of influenza include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue

“If you have these symptoms, I would encourage you to stay home,” Dr. Larry says. This is for your benefit as well as for the health of others.

While most healthy adults recover from the flu within a few days (despite the “miserable” symptoms that bring many people into Dr. Larry’s E.R. worrying they have a more serious illness) the people who are most at risk for complications due to influenza are the very old, very young, and those with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions. These people need you to stay home when you’re sick with the flu, especially if they’re not healthy enough to receive a flu vaccination themselves.

Preventing the Spread of Influenza

“Millions of Americans will get sick with influenza this year,” Dr. Larry cautions. He says that the best three ways to protect yourself against flu are:

  1. Get the flu shot
  2. Wash your hands often and thoroughly
  3. If you’re sick, stay home

“Take care of yourself, as well,” he says. This means getting plenty of sleep, water, healthy foods, exercise, and managing your stress.

Dr. Larry reminds his patients that the best possible way to protect yourself during influenza season is to get the flu vaccination, even though it’s not a surefire way to prevent the flu. “You’re not 100 percent protected. It’s not a perfect flu shot,” he says, “But it does offer some protection.”

While the flu vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective against all strains of influenza that crop up each year, Dr. Larry reminds his patients that it’s the best line of defense against getting sick this flu season. “It’s the best thing we’ve got.”

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