Summer is coming to an end and fall is right around the corner. This means the flu season, characterized by coughing and runny or stuffy nose, is about to begin.
However, while influenza and similar viruses thrive in cold weather, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has advised the public to begin preparation as early as now. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
Here are the three steps to fight the flu, according to CDC.
The first thing that anyone should do to prevent getting infected is to get vaccinated. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all children and adults, except those who have other medical conditions, to get their flu shot.
Health workers, pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart, and lung diseases are at high risk of severe flu illness.
Babies younger than 6 months are exempted because they are too young for the vaccine. People around them should get vaccinated instead to protect the children from getting the flu.
Public health officials advise the public to get vaccinated by the end of October or before flu season hits their community. People should get vaccinated every year.
"The sooner you get the vaccine the quicker your body develops immunity at least protection against it, so the sooner you get it the better," stated Jason Bryant, medical director at Premier Urgent Care.
The CDC has also listed back nasal spray vaccine this year as a preventive measure for people who are afraid of needles and have not been vaccinated. Flu shots will be available at all pharmacy chains for $20 to $70 starting this month.
Do Not Spread Germs
The second step is to help stop the spread of the virus by limiting physical contact with people who are not infected by the flu. If sick, it is best that the patient stays at home to recuperate. The CDC recommends patients to be isolated inside their homes for up to 24 hours after the fever has subsided.
Using tissues, washing hands, and disinfecting items and surfaces are also necessary steps to help prevent spreading the illness. The CDC has issued a pamphlet detailing preventive steps to fight the flu.
Take Antiviral Drugs As Prescribed
Most symptoms of the flu disappear without the need for antibiotics. However, antiviral drugs can make help patients recover faster. According to previous studies, antiviral drugs work best two days after contracting the flu but taking them a few days after can still make a world of difference.
The flu season in the United States occurs during fall and winter. The number of people infected peaks from December to March when the weather is cold and the virus thrives. Between 2017 and 2018, a total of 30,453 lab-confirmed influenza hospitalizations was recorded across the country.
Symptoms of flu include coughing, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue.