What can I do to prevent the flu?
A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research indicates will be most common. There are also many everyday actions that you can take to prevent the spread of flu viruses including covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands often, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, avoiding close contact with sick people, and staying home if you are sick to avoid spreading flu to others.
So I think I have the flu…
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with 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 get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose. You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
Do I need to go to Parton or call my doctor at home?
If you become ill with influenza symptoms you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to seek medical care. Most people are able to recover at home from flu without medical care. However, some people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications. They are:children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people who have asthma, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, chronic lung disease, blood disorders, and heart disease.
But what about antibiotics?
Since the flu is caused by viruses antibiotics will not work to fight the infection, antiviral drugs however can treat your illness. These drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. Antiviral drugs work best when started in the first 2 days of symptoms to treat people who are very sick (such as those who are hospitalized) or people who are sick with flu symptoms and who are at increased risk of severe flu illness (see list above). Antiviral drugs are available by prescription only and require you to see a healthcare provider first.
What can I do to feel better?
If you become ill with influenza symptoms you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to seek medical care. Most people are able to recover at home from flu without medical care.