Newtown Connecticut Family Doctor's Blog

Tis The Season of Influenza

Flu symptoms may begin suddenly, the virus doesn’t tend to be speedy and you can be contagious before you even realize it. The influenza virus which causes the flu may last one to four days before you begin to experience symptoms. Then it can hit you hard.

You will be feeling relatively fine, and then you suddenly feel exhausted, you have muscle and joint aches. Other symptoms are fever over 101F, chills, tightness of the chest, and sometimes fatigue. Then you may notice other symptoms such as sore throat and a dry cough. Fever can last two to four days, while other symptoms can last for up to a week. You may not feel completely yourself for more than 2 weeks.

If you think you have the flu go to the doctor as soon as you can. Tamiflu and Relenza must be taken within 48 hours of the onset of the symptoms. This treatment will reduce the intensity of symptoms, hasten recovery, and significantly decrease the chances of you developing complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

Before you even experience symptoms of the flu, you are contagious. You can pass the virus from about a day before the first symptoms show up until and about 5 to 7 days after. Since you can spread the flu virus for so long it’s important to stay home if you are sick and if you go back to your regular routine too early it could prolong your recovery. The average American puts their fingers in their eyes, nose, or mouth every 15 to 30 seconds. The best way to prevent getting the flu is to try to avoid touching your face, washing your hands and when you sneeze or cough use a tissue.

The flu has become relatively easy to prevent with a flu shot. For those who are not sick and want to stay that way, get the flu vaccine sooner than later. If you haven’t had the flu shot for the season yet what are you waiting for? Every state in the nation has seen hundreds of cases of this seasonal scourge. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. The flu season won’t wrap up until almost May. Get it now, because if you procrastinate, you may regret it. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to get the flu. Pharmacies offer flu shots well beyond January. Also keep in mind it takes two weeks for the flu shot to produce enough antibodies for your body to fight off the flu. The flu vaccine isn’t foolproof so you might still get a mild case of the flu.

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