By Tennova Healthcare
This flu season is striking hard and wide across the country, creating anxiety for individuals who are vulnerable to serious complications. As with any illness, it’s important to learn and follow steps that can protect you and your loved ones from contracting the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists four important steps to reduce your risk of infection:
• Wash your hands consistently throughout the day.
Hand washing is still one of the most effective and easiest ways to prevent infection.
• Keep your hands away from your face.
Microscopic germs find their way into our bodies most often through hand-to-eye, nose or mouth contact. Door knob and handles, office coffee pots and grocery cart handles can all carry the virus.
• Stay away from sick people.
Individuals can still be contagious for 24 hours after a fever and other symptoms cease.
• Get vaccinated.
Even when a vaccine is not a perfect match for a flu strain, it still benefits the recipient by decreasing the intensity and duration of the illness and preventing complications.
“Besides getting a flu shot, the best way to prevent the flu – or other illnesses – is the common sense things we learned as children,” said Dr. Kevin Gray, an internal medicine physician. “Wash your hands regularly, keep your hands away from your face and avoid people who are sick.”
If you do become ill and suspect the flu virus, see your doctor or visit an urgent care center; you may receive a prescription for an antiviral medication which can lesson flu symptoms and help you recover faster. This is a critically-important step for those who are at higher risk for flu complications, such as young children, adults age 65-plus, and those with lung disease and compromised immune systems.
When you’re ill, you can help stop the spread of viruses by staying home, except for medical care visits, until you have been fever- and symptom-free for 24 hours. Protect others from your sneezes and coughs by turning away from people and bringing your sleeved arm up to sneeze or cough into your elbow.
“This year’s flu season seems to be more severe than recent ones,” said Gray. “People who are at higher risk for flu-related complications should see their doctor immediately if they suspect they have the flu to ensure they are monitored for complications.”
Unlike a cold, the flu typically comes on suddenly. It is a contagious respiratory virus adults may unknowingly spread before experiencing symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu symptoms include fever or feeling feverish/chills (although not everyone with flu will have a fever); cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle or body aches; headaches; fatigue; and vomiting and diarrhea, which are more common in children.
To make an appointment with a Tennova primary care provider, visit TennovaOnline.com or call 1-855-TENNOVA.
About Tennova Healthcare
One of the state’s largest health networks, Tennova Healthcare includes 16 hospitals and more than 115 physician clinics. The combined network has approximately 2,600 licensed beds, 2,800 physicians on the combined active medical staffs, and 9,000 employees, with more than 70,000 admissions and 465,000 emergency department visits each year. Learn more at www.Tennova.com.
Make the right call: 1-855-TENNOVA