Flu Symptoms

Flu symptoms usually last five to seven days. Influenza treatment will be based on how many symptoms are present and how severe they are. Someone suffering from the flu will have some or all of the following flu symptoms:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

 

When to Seek Medical Treatment For The Flu

If you are experiencing flu symptoms and you’re in a high-risk group (young children, over age 65, pregnant or have a certain medical condition such as asthma, diabetes or another chronic illness) or are very sick and worried about your illness, contact your primary care provider.

Influenza treatment will be based on how many symptoms are present and how severe they are.

Influenza Prevention

If you don’t have the flu and are simply looking to keep it that way, you should utilize the best known way to prevent the flu: getting a flu shot. Each year, a new flu vaccine is created based on the strands from the previous year, and while it does not guarantee that you won’t acquire the flu, it is your best means of prevention.

In addition to visiting a flu shot clinic and receiving your annual flu shot, please take the following precautions:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Clean your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water or hand sanitizers
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces including kitchen and bathroom counters, doorknobs, desks, phones and computer keyboards
  • Stay home and avoid contact with other people if you have flu symptoms
  • Boost your immune system by increasing your consumption of antioxidant-rich foods and taking vitamins.

Where Can I Find a Flu Shot Clinic Near Me?

Any of our NCHS locations can provide influenza treatment or flu shots, and you can even request a free ride to get to your appointment.

When Is Flu Season?

The flu season generally lasts from mid-fall to mid-winter, but may vary slightly based on your area. The longest flu seasons have lasted from early October through May, but typically November to February is common. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot before the end of October to stay ahead of the virus since it takes about two weeks after getting vaccinated for your body to create enough antibodies to protect against the flu. Influenza treatment is still available after you’ve been infected with the flu, but it is best to stay ahead of the flu and prevent it as much as you can.

Seasonal Flu

The seasonal flu is a contagious illness that affects the respiratory system, namely the nose, throat, and sometimes lungs. The flu comes from the influenza virus, and it can affect children and adults of all ages, although some people may be at a higher risk of obtaining the flu, such as those who are very young or old or have a weakened immune system.

Flu treatment is handled in a variety of ways, depending on the age of the individual and how severe the symptoms are. Generally, symptoms are mild or moderate, though they can be severe and even lead to death. Unfortunately, influenza symptoms are similar to those of many other respiratory illnesses.

Although the flu is a virus and cannot be eradicated with antibiotics, some medications are available for flu treatment. Antiviral drugs can be utilized to treat the flu, and these are available by prescription only.  Depending on the severity of your symptoms and if you have any concerns for complications, you will likely be given one of these types of flu treatments.

Typically, antiviral drugs will lessen the time a person is sick by 1-2 days, and they may lessen the severity of the symptoms. They will also lower the risk of additional complications, such as pneumonia or a sinus infection. These antiviral drugs can be used as a flu treatment for almost any individual, including young children, older adults, and pregnant women. If you have the flu and make a doctor’s appointment, be sure to ask about your flu treatment options.

What to Do When You Have the Flu

Whether you choose to visit a doctor or not during the flu, it is best to monitor symptoms closely to ensure that they do not get worse and that no complications are arising. In addition to that, be sure the individual with the flu is getting enough rest, consuming a lot of liquids, and is as comfortable as possible. You can also utilize nasal decongestants, throat lozenges, antihistamines, cough medicine, and pain reliever as needed. Just be sure to check the labels of anything you’re taking to ensure it is age appropriate and doesn’t have any adverse effects with anything else you’re taking. Additionally, eating antioxidant rich foods can help your body to fight the flu faster and more effectively, and eating protein can help your body to heal itself during and after a sickness.

At-Home Flu Treatment

In addition to the suggestions above, there are a few at-home flu treatments you can utilize to speed up the healing process and start feeling better faster. Since most medications don’t affect influenza symptoms and treatment, getting over the flu is all about boosting your immune system and increasing your ability to fight off the current sickness.

Try taking a very steamy shower. It’s important not to overheat when you have the flu, but breathing in the steam can clear your sinuses, help your throat feel better, and maybe even help you fight off that fever. You can use Vick’s VapoRub shower tablets to help reduce your congestion even more, or if you can diffuse essential oils to help minimize sinus inflammation and clear out the mucus in your sinuses.

Increase vitamin intake and immune-boosting remedies. Drink and eat more things with Vitamin C—kiwis, broccoli, lemons, oranges, strawberries, yellow peppers, and kale are all great options. Turn them into smoothies or simply snack on them during the day to boost your immunity. Zinc has also been shown to shorten the length of a sickness, but talk to your doctor about the best form to take and any precautions you need to be aware of. In addition, some people swear by Echinacea, elderberry, garlic, and ginseng for flu symptoms treatment. Discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor before utilizing these herbs to ensure safe use.

Consume as much liquid and soup as you can, as hydration is important to healing and functioning well. Ensure you’re resting and utilize help and care whenever you can. The best thing you can do if you have the flu is to stay home and try to get better. Avoid going into public areas while sick to prevent the spread of the flu, and try to stay away from close contact with those in your household for the same reason.

Flu Statistics

Each year, between 5 and 20% of the US population contract the flu. Influenza symptoms range from mild fever and cough to severe diarrhea, vomiting, chills, and more. Each year, over 30 million outpatient visits occur due to the flu, and flu care has become increasingly necessary in hospitals across the country to handle and treat extreme cases of the flu. It is estimated that about 200,000 hospitalizations occur due to the flu, mostly of people who were considered high-risk, such as the elderly, young babies, and those with comprised immune systems. The flu costs more than $10 billion per year in medical expenses and another $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity.

If you suspect you have the flu or want to do your best to prevent it, come in to one of our NCHS locations. Our staff can give you a flu vaccine, perform an exam and discuss influenza symptoms, or prescribe flu treatment to help you feel better as quickly as possible. When you need flu care, you can count on NCHS to help you achieve and maintain optimal health all year round.

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