With the flu being so bad this year, we have compiled a list of symptoms, ways to prevent from getting it, and what to watch for if you have it.
Influenza (or flu for short) season is here and it is bad. The CDC reports that about 12,000 people die in the US every year from flu complications. In a ‘moderately severe’ year like we are currently experiencing, deaths have reached up to 56,000.
And this year’s flu strain has been running rampant through the US. The developers who make flu vaccines had predicted another strain would be worse than the strain that is currently going around, which is the h3n2.
So even people who got the vaccine is still getting the flu because of this.
But today let me ask you this, do you know what symptoms to watch for? Do you know how to prevent you or your family from getting it? Do you know what you need to do if you feel like you may have the flu?
Also do you know who more likely to die from complications during the flu? And what you need to watch out for even after you start feeling better after the flu?
Did you answer “no” to any of these questions, then you will want to read this. We will discuss everything above and then some.
The most common symptoms of the flu are:
- Severe aches in muscles and joints
- Pain and tiredness around your eyes
- Weakness or extreme fatigue
- Warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes
- Headache, usually above 101F
- A dry cough
- A sore throat and runny nose
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting (more common in kids than adults)
There are some other more serious symptoms as well:
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in your chest or belly
- Severe vomiting
- Sudden dizziness
With these symptoms you need to be seen by a doctor right away.
Pro Tip: If you think you have the flu, go to your doctor right away. If caught early, they can prescribe Tamiflu which will help you get better more quickly.
Ok, So I have the flu, now what?
The best way to treat the flu at home is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids. And Rest. Exhaustion is common and you do not want to over exert yourself.
And stay home. One of the reasons the flu spreads is people go off to town sick and spread the germs around. If you stay home and away from people, you will be less likely to give it to someone else.
If you do have to go out for any reason, wear a face mask to prevent the spreading of your germs.
Quarantine yourself in a bedroom with a bathroom (if possible) and try to stay in that place as much as possible. This will also help keep the flu from spreading to people who live with you.
Who Is At Risk?
Elderly, babies, pregnant women and anyone who has a weakened immune system due to a disease or health problem is at a much higher risk for having serious issues with the flu and secondary infections than healthier people.
Children with respiratory problems like asthma and some with certain special needs are at a higher risk as well.
Keep a close eye on anyone who has the flu for more serious symptoms and for signs for secondary infections such as pneumonia.
What Are The Secondary Infection Symptoms?
Common secondary infections are sinus infection, ear infections, pneumonia (This one seems to be the worse one this year), and bronchitis. These are just some, not all.
It is hard to make a list of new symptoms to look out for because some of them you may experience with the flu itself. Just watch out for any new symptoms and closely watch your current symptoms for any worsening.
For example, you may already have a dry cough, but if it becomes worse, it could be sign of bronchitis or pneumonia.
How Can I Prevent It To Begin With?
Though nothing can guarantee that you won’t get it no matter how many precautions you take, there are some things you can do to help prevent it.
- Wash your hands often with antimicrobial soap
- Sanitize faucets, phones, doorknobs and even buggies at the store
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces often with Lysol.
The flu sucks. It makes you feel as if you may die. It’s horrible, but with some prevention, you may be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get it.
Remember if you do happen to get it, get plenty of rest and plenty of fluids. Get to the doctor as soon as possible for antiviral medication such as Tamiflu that will help you get rid of it quickly.