It’s flu season, and there are things you need to know and do so you can avoid it. Here are some tips on how to handle this common illness.
1. Get a flu shot
This is the best way to prevent the flu. You should get one every year. Most people get the flu from December until March. Healthcare officials recommend getting the shot before flu season starts – at the end of October. The vaccine takes two weeks to take effect.
You cannot contract the flu from the shot. At most, you may feel some minor discomfort, but that is all. Even if you get a shot, it is still possible to get the flu, because the shot only protects against certain strains of the virus, the ones that health officials believe will be the most common that year. But even if you do get the flu, it will not be as severe as it would be without the shot.
2. What to do if you get the flu
If you fall ill, rest in bed and drink a lot of fluids, such as water and juice. Avoid drinking alcohol. Medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are helpful in combating a fever and in reducing the aches and pains that often accompany the flu.
Try to avoid smoking if you are a smoker. The flu is an illness that affects your respiratory system – lungs and nasal passages – and smoking may cause further irritation of these areas and more discomfort.
Also, as soon as you begin to feel symptoms, call the doctor. He may be able to prescribe drugs called antivirals, which help to reduce the severity of the flu and help you to get over the illness more quickly. However, in order to work, the drugs need to be taken within 48 hours of contracting the illness.
3. The symptoms
How do you know if it’s the flu and not just a bad cold? The first sign is a fever, which is a common symptom of the flu. Other usual symptoms include headaches, other aches and pains, sometimes acute, as well as feeling tired and weak.
4. The flu is contagious
The flu can spread easily from one person to another, commonly through the air. People are most contagious just before symptoms materialize and for several days after coming down with the illness.
The virus spreads through sneezing or coughing. You can even contract the virus by touching an object that the virus is on and then putting your hand near your nose or mouth. The virus can survive for several hours on an object.
Because it is so contagious, as well as to hasten recovery, you should stay in bed if you get the virus. By going to work, the odds are you will be spreading the virus to other people.
It is important to wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of the virus. Your workplace may have a sick policy in place. Make sure you know the policies and communicate effectively.
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