HealthFix: Flu Season—Maintaining your health during the holidays

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The holiday season is full of love, cheer, and plenty of cold temperatures. For everyone, especially elderly individuals and the very young, the holiday season also carries one major health concern—the flu.

Flu Season—What you need to know

Influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. The virus spreads through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract, which can lead to congestion, sore throat, sneezing, body aches, and fever. The symptoms of flu tend to come on quickly and can become serious in some cases.

People who are 65 years or older and very young children are generally at greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu. For these two groups, the body’s natural defense is slightly weaker than that of a young, healthy adult. Taking preventive measures before and during flu season is important for everyone, especially those who fall into the higher risk groups.

Actions to take during flu season

  • Get a flu shot: The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. A vaccine helps the body protect itself against the most common flu viruses during the upcoming season.
    * While this season’s flu vaccine has been shown to be less effective with one strain of the flu virus, it remains effective with other strains. The CDC still recommends that everyone receives a flu shot every year.
  • Practice healthy and hygienic habits: Covering coughs, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are sick.
  • Seek medical advice if you develop flu symptoms

What should I do if I catch the flu?

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink clear fluids
  • Stay at home
  • Avoid visiting elderly, very young, and those who have compromised immune systems
  • Take Tamiflu

Allen Francis, M.D.
Davis Hospital and Medical Center
www.davishospital.com