Sometimes, we get sick.
We go about our day, dealing with the stuffy noses, sore throats and a slight feeling of general malaise. Nothing we can’t handle.
But then, there is flu sick.
We don’t go about our day, because we can’t get off the couch, and feel that we might die, in the not so distant future. No handling here.
So I feel obligated to tell you. Flu season is upon us.
The influenza virus or “the flu” as it is commonly called, has a season that starts as early as October and can last clear until May. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu season is the time period in which the ease of transmission or chance of catching the flu virus is at its height. With a season that is nearly eight months long, it is a good idea to be prepared.
The flu is an extremely prevalent and highly contagious illness, making even healthy people susceptible to catching it. It is even more dangerous to those who have compromised immune systems such as infants, children, the elderly or anyone who is prone to disease. In these at-risk populations, catching the flu has more serious implications and without the right precautions and treatments, influenza can be deadly.
The good news is that getting the flu is very preventable. Influenza is a virus, and there are vaccines that protect against the most common strains. These vaccines can be administered several ways: such as injections or a nasal spray. It is best to discuss with a health professional which of these vaccine methods would work best for you and your family.
As the vaccines are not foolproof, you still need to be aware of proper hygiene techniques, which protect you and those around you. Wash your hands regularly (the right way), cover your mouth when you sneeze, and don’t share things such as lip balm/ gloss or food.
So what if all of these things don’t work and you find yourself making close friends with your couch?
1) Stay home! Even if you are not positive it’s the flu, infecting everyone you know is a good way to find out.
2) Know the symptoms of flu: body chills, fever, aches and a sudden onset of symptoms.
3) If you find yourself unable to keep hydrated or are running a high fever, seek medical attention. That also stands, if you do not find yourself improving within 36 hours.
Sometimes, we get sick. But it’s much nicer if we don’t. So be prepared, get your shot, and stay vigilant.
And maybe this year, you and your couch can remain as indifferent acquaintances.