Flu season, and the potential for missed time from school, work and family activities, is around the corner. Unfortunately, flu season can begin as early as October.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is a highly contagious illness caused by the influenza viruses that infects the respiratory system. It can cause mild to severe illness and sometimes even lead to death.
“As with any illness, it’s important to follow steps to protect you and your loved ones from contracting the virus,” said Chad Sherwood M.D., chief medical officer at Urgent Team Family of Urgent Care & Walk-in Centers.
- Get vaccinated. “The best way to protect against the flu is to use preventive measures, such as the flu shot,” stressed Dr. Sherwood. “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.”
- Wash your hands. Hand washing throughout the day 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. Common areas, such as door knobs, office coffee pots and grocery cart handles can all carry the virus.
- Stay away from sick people. A person can still be contagious for 24 hours after a fever and other symptoms cease.
“If you do become ill, you can help stop the spread of viruses by staying home, except for medical visits, until you have been fever- and symptom-free for 24 hours,” said Dr. Sherwood.
If you become ill and suspect the flu virus, see your doctor or visit an urgent care center. If you are seen within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, 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.
To protect you and your family during the 2016-17 flu season, our two centers offer the Fluzone Quadrivalent flu vaccination for $30 for self-pay patients. And most insurances cover the cost of the vaccination. No appointment is needed and our urgent care centers are open seven days a week with extended hours during the week.