The CDC has announced that influenza outbreaks are spiking in Texas—is your family prepared? The flu can cause uncomfortable symptoms like coughing, nausea, and fever, and it can even produce life-threatening complications if left untreated. If you’re wondering how you can prevent the flu, the answer is simple: get a flu shot at a FastMed Urgent Care clinic. These life-saving vaccinations can help to protect you and your family from illness this flu season, which lasts from October to May.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all individuals over the age of five receive a flu shot as quickly as possible. However, even those who suspect they have the flu can receive treatment that may lessen the duration of the sickness. Read on to discover how to spot the flu and how it can be treated. You’ll also learn about the precautions that can be taken at home to keep your family safe.
What Is the Flu?
Caused by the Influenza virus, the flu is a very contagious respiratory infection that typically affects Americans during the fall and winter months. Two types of the virus—A and B—can produce several variations as the flu season progresses. If you suspect that you have the flu, it’s important to avoid work, school, or other social activities. Droplets that spread through the air when an infected person sneezes, speaks, or coughs can quickly infect others.
How Do I Know if It’s the Flu or a Cold?
In most cases, flu symptoms are more severe than those of a common cold. You may experience weakness, aching muscles, a fever, or shortness of breath. Many flu patients also experience nausea and a persistent cough that can be dry or filled with phlegm. Symptoms can vary, so it’s important to contact your healthcare provider or the urgent care center near you if you suspect the flu.
What Is the Treatment for the Flu?
Those affected by the flu should rest as much as possible and consume plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. Your healthcare or urgent care provider may recommend an antiviral medication, which may alleviate your symptoms and may lessen the duration of the flu. Patients can also use over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers to lower a fever or reduce sinus pain.
Elderly Patients and the Flu
Older patients, especially those with pre-existing conditions like asthma or diabetes, are more likely to develop flu-related complications. Hospitalization may be necessary if the patient develops pneumonia or dehydration caused by the flu. These complications can be fatal if left untreated, so seek medical attention immediately if you or your loved one is displaying symptoms of the flu.
Preventing the Flu at Home
During flu season, it’s important to practice good habits at home to help prevent the spread of germs. Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing or use the crook of your elbow and be sure to wash your hands several times throughout the day. Frequently-touched surfaces – including sink handles, counter tops, and even electronics – can be disinfected regularly to eliminate germs. When possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, which can sometimes spread microbes to these areas.
Staying informed about the symptoms of flu and keeping your home clean is essential, but the best way to avoid the virus this year is to receive a flu vaccination. Don’t let the flu disrupt your holiday plans. Visit your local FastMed clinic to receive a $20 flu shot.
FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates nearly 200 centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas that provide a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days a year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation and other occupational health services at all its centers, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than six million patients and is the only independent urgent care operator in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit www.fastmed.com.