With flu season in full swing, it’s important to be aware of what symptoms to watch for. Unfortunately, the 2022–23 flu season began early this year and cases continue to be high across the country. But if infection feels inevitable, don’t lose hope — there are some key flu prevention methods you can use to best protect your family.
Recognizing Symptoms of Flu
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one key difference between the flu and other ailments is the sudden onset of symptoms. You may feel fine one day and then miserable the next.
What’s more, symptoms often affect more than your respiratory tract and may include:
- Fever or chills
- Muscle or body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
If you, your child, or a loved one are experiencing flu symptoms, it’s important to get a flu test as soon as possible. Flu treatments are most effective if they are taken in the first 48 hours, so getting tested and starting treatment early can help you feel better faster and avoid more serious symptoms.
The Best Flu Prevention Methods
- Number one? Get your flu shot. The flu shot gets your body ready to fight the flu before it ever comes in contact with the virus. Even if it doesn’t keep you from getting sick, it will most likely make your symptoms less severe and shorten your recovery time.
If you have young children or older parents, or live with someone with chronic health issues, getting the flu shot protects them as well as you. It’s best to get your shot in September or October, but getting vaccinated later in the year can still help protect you. It’s not too late!
- Soap and hand sanitizer are two of your best weapons for preventing the flu. Wash your hands often, scrubbing for a full 30 seconds with soap. Remind your kids how to do it correctly. If soap and water aren’t available, reach for alcohol-based sanitizer or hand wipes. The flu virus can live on surfaces for days.
- Although it can be hard not to see a loved one who’s been sick — or keep a child out of school another day — protect your family and those around you by being mindful of contagious germs. According to the CDC, people with flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Infants and people with weakened immune systems may be contagious for longer than seven days. When in doubt, stay home until you’re sure the infection has cleared.
Flu Facts to Remember
- The flu doesn’t always cause a fever. If you experience body aches, cough and fatigue, don’t ignore the signs. The faster you can get antiviral medications, the better.
- For severe symptoms (trouble breathing, chest pain, persistent vomiting, confusion, sudden dizziness), call 911 or have someone drive you to the emergency room.
- Seek emergency care if your symptoms improve but then return with a fever or a worse cough than you had originally.
Get Tested and Treated at Centra Care
You can get a flu test and treatment at any AdventHealth Centra Care location. Remember that getting care within 48 hours of the start of symptoms gives you the best chance at a fast flu recovery. We’ll help you get back to feeling like yourself again. Make an online reservation here and learn more at FluAnswers.com.