The flu season wreaks havoc across the country every year, with many ill, hospitalized, and even several deaths. The flu virus shouldn’t be taken lightly because it’s contagious, and there’s no predicting how the flu season will turn out. You want to be on the right side of the flu season, and that means being protected from the risk of contracting the flu virus.
How do you know if you have contracted the flu? If you feel sick, the sooner you recognize your symptoms as the flu, the quicker you start treatment. It’s good to have an idea of how to recognize if you have the flu.
AFC Urgent Care Waltham provides flu tests and treatment for all patients. Our providers can help diagnose you and help you feel your best as soon as possible.
Symptoms of the Flu
Some signs of the flu can be mistaken for the common cold, such as sneezing, sore throat, and runny nose. A few things that set the two apart are that the flu appears suddenly and makes you feel ill, while the cold develops slowly. According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of the flu usually include:
- Muscle aches
- Chills and sweats
- Dry, persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Eye pain
- Vomiting and diarrhea(tend to occur in children)
Catching and Preventing the Flu
The number one way to prevent catching the flu is to get vaccinated with a flu shot. The recommendation of the CDC is annual flu vaccination for persons six months+, including adults 50 and over, pregnant women, persons with compromised immune systems, or persons with particular health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s beneficial to get the flu vaccine, which can help minimize your risk of contracting the flu and the severity of the flu, and the risk of serious illness associated with the flu. Other ways to not catch the flu is to:
- Avoid persons who have the flu or who are exhibiting signs or symptoms of the flu.
- Cover your coughs and sneeze with a tissue
- Routinely wash your hands with soap and water
- Disinfect frequently touched objects and services
Treating the Flu
If you suspect that you may have the flu, seek medical care. For many patients, the first line of defense against the flu is an anti-viral drug treatment option. If you are at a high risk of critical flu complications, get checked by your doctor if you have flu symptoms. You can also ease some of the symptoms of the flu in several ways, including:
- Taking it easy and getting plenty of rest
- Drinking lots of fluids, including water, broth-based soups, fruit juices, and sports drinks
- Taking over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to treat aches and fever
- Treating cough with over-the-counter cough medicine
- Using a saline solution to unblock your nostrils of mucus
- Sucking on a lozenge to ease your sore throat
Don’t get bogged down with the flu this season. Get the flu shot to help prevent you from becoming sick with the flu. Visit AFC Waltham if you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of the flu.