It is that time of year again – cold and flu season is here. Influenza, more commonly known as the “flu,” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It can be mild or severe. Most people will have mild illness and will not need medical care and will recover in less than two weeks.
Although the cold virus and flu virus can cause similar symptoms, flu is usually more severe. Serious outcomes of the flu can result in hospitalization or even death. Some people are more susceptible to complications of the flu, including the elderly, young children, those with compromised immune systems, and people with certain health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Although flu has not hit Travis County in force yet, 10 people in our county have already died this season from flu complications. There are some worrying indications coming from Australia that this flu season could be very severe – check out this article from the New York Times.
Here is what you can do:
- The best way to prevent the flu is to get immunized. Do this now, as it takes a few days to take effect.
- As always, avoid touching your face and wash your hands frequently. That is my secret to staying healthy in a medical office, and it will work even better for you.
- If you get flu symptoms, contact me asap as you may be able to take an anti-viral drug to reduce symptoms. This has to be administered within 48 hours of symptoms though.
- If you get a cold or flu, rest and drink lots of fluids.
Please see the CDC chart on how to tell the different between cold and flu.