Flu season begins in early fall, peaks around January and February, and continues until April or May. The Flu is one of the most common illnesses people complain of. The first step to avoiding the flu is getting a flu shot. If you didn’t get your shot, or unfortunately get infected with a strain that the vaccine didn’t protect against, the flu can be very frustrating. Flu is a viral infection so it does not respond to antibiotics, which only work with bacterial diseases. A respiratory illness, it spreads easily from person to person and can be picked up from infected surfaces. The most common flu symptoms include:
Muscle and body aches
Stuffy head and nose
Coughs (can start as a dry cough but turn more serious)
Fatigue or feeling weak
Fever (102° or more)
Diarrhea and vomiting can also accompany flu, although this is more common in children than in adults. Anyone with reduced immunity who shows symptoms of flu should contact their doctor, and if you have green or yellow mucus, very severe headaches or difficulty breathing you should contact the emergency room without delay.
Symptoms typically last for a week, and can be treated with over the counter medicine. Reduce your fever with a pain reliever like ibuprofen, and take antihistamines and decongestants to help breathe easier if you’re congested.
Typically, with some medicine to reduce your symptoms and some rest and fluids, you’ll be in top shape soon enough. However, your body may not be able to fight off the flu on its own, and in that case you should see your doctor. The signs for that include:
• Chest or stomach pain
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Severe vomiting