The Flu: The Bug That’s Easy to Catch

Timing of the flu season varies in different parts of the world and from season to season. Generally, the dates of flu season in the United States run from October to May, with a peak between December and February. Flu viruses are more stable and remain airborne longer in cold and dry conditions, making it easier to spread.

So, how do you know if you have the flu and what are ways to treat it?

What You Might Feel
Are you wondering if you have the flu? Although flu symptoms can mimic a cold, a common cold rarely causes a fever. The flu often starts abruptly. Here’s a list of flu
symptoms you might feel:
• Fever
• Severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles
• Weakness
• Warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes
• Headache
• Dry cough
• Sore throat and runny nose

What You Might Do
The earlier you recognize that you might have the flu can make a difference in how long it lasts. Prescription medications called antiviral drugs—Relenza and Tamiflu—are most effective when given within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms. Of course, there are also ways to treat the flu or lessen the severity of your symptoms without medication:
• Get plenty of rest
• Drink clear fluids or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
• Place a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
• Put a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
• Cover up with a warm blanket to calm chills

NOW is the ideal time to get the flu vaccine—everyone six months of age and older can get one. Even if you don’t have a regular doctor, you can get a vaccine from an urgent care clinic or pharmacy. You can also go to cdc.gov, enter your zip code in the flu vaccine finder and find a flu clinic near you.

 

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