Health News

Don’t ignore the flu

Chills, fever, body aches – you know when it’s more than just a cold. And when experiencing these symptoms, especially with little ones, it’s important not to ignore them.

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While anyone can get sick with flu, this year’s flu season is coming on fast and impacting some of the most vulnerable patients. Children, especially those younger than 5 years, are at higher risk for serious flu-related complications, which can include: pneumonia, sepsis, or sinus and ear infections. It can even make chronic medical conditions, like asthma, worse. Complications of the flu can also affect different organs of the body and cause respiratory failure.

What Can Be Done

  • If you haven’t already, get the flu shot. Once vaccinated, it takes two weeks to reach full immunity.
  • Don’t just wash your hands often – dry them too. Wet hands are more likely to spread germs than dry ones, the CDC says.
  • Not getting enough sleep compromises your immune system. Keep a steady sleep routine and aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
  • Regular exercise can boost your immune system’s ability to fight off sickness.
  • Finally, avoid people with symptoms of the cold or flu.

If the flu is suspected it’s important to get diagnosed. With results in just 15 minutes, a rapid flu test allows providers to diagnose or rule out certain conditions. If influenza is confirmed within 48 hours of symptom on-set, anti-viral medication, like Tamiflu is available. This can help drastically reduce the duration and severity of the flu.