This flu season is the worst on record with millions already affected. January 2018 is the worst in history for the number of cases reported. And if that wasn’t bad enough, experts say there are still 11 to 13 weeks of flu season left.
So what can you do?
First, know the common signs of the virus. These include fever, headache, abnormal fatigue, coughing or a runny nose. In some cases, you may also experience vomiting and body aches.
If you think you may have the flu, see a doctor quickly. They can help by testing to confirm it is in fact the flu, and prescribe antiviral medication that can help lessen the severity and duration of the flu. You need to take anti-viral medications within 48 hours of experiencing flu-like symptoms for the drugs to be most effective, so don’t delay going to the doctor.
If you are diagnosed with the flu, it is important to rest and drink plenty of fluids. You can also take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve fever and aches. Most importantly, stay home and avoid contact with others. Going to work or school with the flu doesn’t make you tough – it just spreads the flu to others.
Although the flu shot is never a guarantee against the virus, it’s still the best protection you can get. It’s never too late to get a flu shot. Flu shots are available at most drugstores as well as your doctor’s office.
The second best way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands often. Make a point to wash your hands after you touch things like door knobs, or a pen that others have touched, shared computers, etc. This will help ensure you don’t pick up germs from others.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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