Flu Season is almost near. That is why it is important for you to know on how to prevent ir or what you need to do if you catch it.
Each year, about 5 to 20 percent of the population in the United States catches the flu or influenza. In addition, it has been determined that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from complications related to this disease, and about 36,000 have fatal consequences.
The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by the influenza virus. It is a highly contagious disease that can easily spread out through the air or from contact with contaminated surfaces.
Healthy adults can pass on the disease from one day before presenting symptoms until five days after being sick. This time may be even longer in people with a weak immune system or in young children.
People who catch the flu may feel sick for about a week, but they usually get relief after that. The most common symptoms are: high fever, headaches, tiredness, dry coughs, sore throat, muscle pain, and rhinitis (an allergy affecting the eyes and nose). Some people may also experience digestive disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you want to prevent the flu, the best way to do it is through a vaccine against it. In addition to this, there are other measures you should take: wash your hands frequently, stay away from people who are sick, keep your hands away from your face, and cover your mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze.
However, if you get sick, here are some tips to help you handle the flu:
- Stay at home.
- Relax, take plenty of fluids, and avoid alcohol and smoke.
- If you have a fever, you can buy drugs that are available without a prescription. However, never use aspirin for this purpose, especially in children, because it can cause a condition known as Reye's Syndrome.This syndrome is a fatal disease in which there is an excessive accumulation of fat in the liver and other organs of the body, and it may even increase the pressure on the brain.
- Stay alert to the presence of emergency symptoms, such as: breathing difficulty (“shortness of breath”), dizziness, confusion, and chest pain.
Remember that healthy habits, like getting adequate amounts of sleep every night (ideally eight hours), being physically active, drinking enough fluids, eating nutritious foods, and staying in touch with your doctor, will help you stay away from the flu this winter.
Be sure to consult your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms.
What to Do if You Get Sick with Flu (2008). CDC, Deparment of Health and Human Services. Retrieved on October, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms.htm.
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