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How to Protect Yourself from the Flu

How to Protect Yourself from the Flu

There’s a lot of emphasis on personal hygiene and social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s also important to be mindful of other conditions that can affect your health including the flu virus.

At More MD, our family practitioners John Moran, MD, and Tim Urell, DO, offer comprehensive flu services, including in-office testing, personalized treatment plans, and flu prevention strategies.

What to know about the flu

Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness. The flu virus is easily transmittable from person to person through droplets in the air.

An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or speaking. You can also pick up the infection if you touch an infected object then touch your face.

Flu symptoms generally begin one to four days after being exposed to the flu. Unfortunately, this means you can infect others before you realize you have the virus.  Typically, you remain contagious three to four days after your symptoms begin and can easily spread the virus to others.

Common flu symptoms

When the virus enters your body through your nose or mouth, it can cause symptoms that range from mild to severe. In immunocompromised people, young children, and the elderly, the flu can be life-threatening.

Common flu symptoms include:

Children especially may also experience nausea and vomiting because of the flu.

Diagnostic testing and treatment options for the flu

Our team at More MD may be able to diagnose the flu based on your symptoms. However, the only way to confirm your diagnosis is with a flu test. Testing involves collecting a sample of fluids from your nose or the back of your throat with a cotton swab. Our rapid flu tests provide results within 15 minutes.

Since influenza is a virus, antibiotics aren’t a treatment option. You can expect to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated while you wait out of your symptoms. Our providers can also recommend over-the-counter medications and home remedies to help you feel better until the virus clears out of your body.

In some cases, we may recommend antiviral medications to shorten the length of time your symptoms last. Antivirals can also reduce the severity of your symptoms.

It’s also important that you stay home from work, school, and other social situations while you’re contagious to prevent the spread of the flu virus to others.

Flu prevention is key

The best way to reduce your risk for serious flu complications is to get the seasonal flu vaccine. Our providers offer in-office flu vaccines annually.

The vaccine introduces your body to the predominant strain of the flu in a particular year. This helps your body build immunity against the disease, so if you do make contact with an infected person, you won’t get as sick as you might without the vaccine.

If you have allergies or underlying medical issues that prevent you from getting the flu vaccine, we can work with you on strategies to keep you safe.

Even with the flu vaccine, you need to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face, especially when you’re out in public.

To learn more about the benefits of the flu vaccine, call the More MD office nearest you to schedule an appointment or book one online today. 

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