The flu – or seasonal influenza – is at its strongest in 6 years this season. Continue reading for the answers to some frequently asked questions about the flu, provided by CHC’s Chief Medical Officer, Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH, FAAFP.
Q: Should I worry about the flu? I have heard mixed reports about how serious it is.
A: Yes, the flu should be taken seriously every year, and with the heightened strength of the strands we are seeing this year, it’s even more important to prepare appropriately for it.
Q: What is the best way to avoid getting the flu?
A: Get the flu shot! It’s quick and it’s by far the best way to avoid the flu altogether. You need one every year during the flu season, so if you haven’t had once since early 2012, you should get another one now.
Q: Who is most at risk for getting the flu or its complications?
A: Children under the age of 5 (especially under the age of 2)
Adults aged 65 and older
American Indians and Alaskan Natives
People with several specific medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS
Q: How can I tell if I have the flu or the common cold?
A: Use the chart below to identify differences between the flu and the common cold.
|Hits you in 3-6 hours||Can take several days to affect you|
|Dry cough||Hacking, productive cough|
|Severe muscle aches||No or few muscle aches|
|Fatigue and weakness||Much more mild tiredness|
|Frequent chills or sweats and significant chest pain||Rare chills or sweats and hardly ever chest pain|
Q: What can the primary care teams at CHC, Inc. do to help me prevent the flu?
A: First and foremost, CHC can administer a flu shot if you have not yet received one. We can also give you helpful tips about how to avoid catching the flu, including basic sanitary practices.
Q: If I do get the flu, can it be treated?
A: Yes, but the most important form of treatment is getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated. Antiviral medications are available if needed and advised by the primary care provider.
Q: How long will it take me to recover from the flu if I get it?
A: This can depend largely on the person, but the flu usually lasts about a week in adults and slightly longer in children. Coughing can continue in both adults and children several days after the flu has been eliminated from the body.
Q: How long will I be contagious if I get the flu?
A: Adults can be contagious one day prior to symptoms showing up and up until a week into dealing with the flu, while children can be contagious for even longer than a week.
For more information about the flu, please do not hesitate to contact the Community Health Center, Inc.!