- flu, influenza, vaccine
For Your Health…
Tips to Developing Better Health and Well-being
What is Influenza?
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.
What Is The Difference Between A Cold And The Flu?
The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.
Prevent Seasonal Flu
-The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting yourself and loved ones against Seasonal Flu
Visit https://www.cdc.gov/ for key facts you need to know about Flu Vaccines
Other Actions To Help Prevent Flu
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
The Flu: What To Do If You Get Sick
How do I know if I have the flu?
You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms: fever*, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
What should I do if I get sick?
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.
If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high-risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your doctor.
Certain people are at high risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions). This is true both for seasonal flu and novel flu virus infections. (For a full list of people at high risk of flu-related complications, see https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm ). If you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best for you to contact your doctor early in your illness. Remind them about your high-risk status for flu. CDC recommends that people at high risk for complications should get antiviral treatment as early as possible, because benefit is greatest if treatment is started within 2 days after illness onset.
Do I need to go the emergency room if I am only a little sick?
No. The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill.
If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice. If you go to the emergency room and you are not sick with the flu, you may catch it from people who do have it.
What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?
In children: Fast breathing or trouble breathing, Bluish skin color, Not drinking enough fluids,
Not waking up or not interacting, Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough, Fever with a rash
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for:
Any infant who has any of these signs: Being unable to eat, Has trouble breathing, Has no tears when crying, Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.
In adults: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness, Confusion, Severe or persistent vomiting, Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Are there medicines to treat the flu?
Yes. There are drugs your doctor may prescribe for treating the flu called “antivirals.” These drugs can make you better faster and may also prevent serious complications. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/ for key facts you need to know about Flu Vaccines
How long should I stay home if I’m sick?
CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®. You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.
What should I do while I’m sick?
Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a facemask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.
If a higher level of wellness is a personal goal of yours, but you are in need of some external guidance and motivation, contact your neighborhood Pharmacist / Nutritionist / Fitness Professionals at Carnegie-Sargent’s Pharmacy and Health Center. (312) 280-1220. Remember health promotion begins with you!
Ask Your Pharmacist – Have a question for us? Give us a call or stop in for a private consultation. If you’d prefer, send a message below and it may end up in a future Ask the Pharmacist article.
– Mark Paley, Registered Pharmacist/Director