Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older gets the flu vaccine.
What are symptoms of the flu virus?
While these may vary from person to person, depending on age, flu symptoms generally include:
- A fever greater than 100°F, or feeling feverish (not everyone with flu has a fever)
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
When should I seek emergency medical attention?
You should seek emergency medical attention immediately if you experience:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest of abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu–like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
The emergency room should only be used for those who are very sick. Always contact your primary care provider if you have questions about specific symptoms or treatment options for the flu.
What everyday steps can I take to stop the spread of germs?
Receiving a flu vaccine is the most important way to prevent you, your friends and family members, coworkers and our patients from getting sick with the flu. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age or older. This is especially true if you have chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma that may put you at higher risk of infection.
You should also follow these steps to help protect yourself and your family.
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands with warm water and soap, or using an alcohol-based sanitizer, to clean your hands.
- Always cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, and throw tissues in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – this is where germs can enter your body.
- If you are sick with the flu or flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24-hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.)
These government resources are provided to help you learn more about seasonal influenza. Their recommendations may not be reflective of ProMedica policies. Please contact your primary care provider if you have further questions about flu.