It’s Flu Season again. Flu season throughout the United States can begin in October and run as late as May. “Flu” is short for influenza, and influenza shouldn’t be taken lightly. For some, the flu simply means feeling miserable and perhaps being laid up for days. For others, it’s a serious disease that can cause respiratory failure, possible hospitalization and even death. During flu season, everyone is vulnerable to contracting the flu virus. Influenza can be spread quite easily and quickly from person to person. However, the flu is preventable. By getting vaccinated, you’ll reduce your risk of contracting and spreading the flu virus.
What’s New This Flu Season
- Only injectable flu shots are recommended this season.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
- There will be some new vaccines on the market this season.
- The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed.
How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe that the flu virus is spread in part by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also contract the flu by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated by the flu virus and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
Preventing the Flu
The first and most important step in preventing the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. The CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and frequent hand washing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lung) illnesses, like the flu.
Period of Contagiousness
If you feel you have been exposed to the flu, you may be able to pass on the flu virus to someone else before you experience any physical symptoms. It can take anywhere from 1 to 4 days for symptoms to be visible from the time an individual is exposed to the flu.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 24 hours before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming ill with the flu virus. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
Diagnosing the Flu
It can be extremely difficult to distinguish the flu from other viral or bacterial causes of respiratory illnesses on the basis of symptoms alone. There are 6 common symptoms related to early flu detection. If you feel you may have the flu virus there are tests available to detect the influenza virus.
Our Urgent Care offers rapid influenza diagnostic testing 7-days a week, 12-hours a day. No appointment is necessary and results are available typically within 30 minutes.
For more information click here to find a location near you or call (866) 252-0599.
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