It doesn't seem possible, but flu season is here. "The flu can be so serious – the 2017-18 season was the most widespread in recent history with many hospitalizations. If you get it, you can't just 'ride it out,'" says Ledy Rojas, MD, a board certified family medicine physician in Lake Nona. "You should do whatever it takes not to get the flu in the first place." Keep these flu-fighting tips in mind to help get your family out in front of the flu this year.
1. Get Your Flu Shot
"Let me say this loud and clear: the flu shot does not give you the flu," says Dr. Rojas. "The flu shot works because it gets your body ready to fight the flu before it ever comes in contact with the virus." So even if it doesn’t keep you from getting sick, it will most likely make your symptoms less severe and shorten your recovery time. If you have young children, older parents or live with someone with chronic health issues, getting the flu shot protects them as well as you. Flu shots are available at your primary care provider.
2. Wash Your Hands
Soap and hand sanitizer are two of your best weapons for preventing the flu, Dr. Rojas says. "Wash your hands often, scrubbing a full 30 seconds with soap," she says. "When soap and water aren’t around, reach for alcohol-based sanitizer or hand wipes. The flu virus can live on surfaces for days."
3. See Your Doctor
Antivirals don’t kill the virus like antibiotics do for bacteria, but they can ramp up your body’s ability to fight back. "Antiviral medication is only available by prescription, and most effective if taken early—within two days of getting the flu," says Dr. Rojas. "They may help ease symptoms if started later as well, so your best bet is to see a doctor as soon as you start feeling bad."
Flu Facts to Remember
- Flu doesn’t always cause a fever. If you experience body aches, cough and fatigue, don't ignore the signs. The faster you can get antiviral medications, the better.
- For severe symptoms (trouble breathing, chest pain, persistent vomiting, confusion, sudden dizziness) call 911 or have someone drive you to the emergency room.
- Seek emergency care if your symptoms improve, then return with a fever or a worse cough than you had originally.
If you need a whole-health expert to help guide you through this year’s flu season and beyond, call us at Call855-303-DOCS.