Afraid about the next flu season? You are not the only one. I just wanted to let you know that the precise time when the flu season begins shifts significantly by a few weeks every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the peak of the disease cases often occurs during the months of December and February.
For those of you who are curious about the prevalence of influenza, during the season of 2021 to 2022, there were nine million cases of sickness that were linked to the virus. Taking all of this into consideration, being vaccinated is the most effective strategy to protect yourself from contracting the influenza virus in the first place.
“The flu is going to start picking up over the next few months, and it’s not too late to get the vaccine,” says Diego Hijano, MD, an assistant physician at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who specializes in infectious illness. “It’s not too late to get the vaccine.”
Shivanjali Shankaran, MD, an infectious disease physician at RUSH University Medical Group in Chicago, Illinois, adds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that being vaccinated against influenza reduces the chance of falling sick with the flu by forty to sixty percent. “If you do get influenza, being vaccinated dramatically decreases your risk of needing hospitalization, needing ICU care, and death.”
If, on the other hand, you are living with the flu, if you know someone who is afflicted with the flu, or if you just want to have a better sense of what to anticipate if you catch the flu, you undoubtedly have some questions that you haven’t answered yet.
Continue reading to find out all you need to know about the typical symptoms, the criteria for isolation, and the healing process, with words of wisdom directly from the professionals.
Common symptoms of the flu
The majority of individuals who have the flu experience a number of symptoms, just as they would with any other sickness. This includes the following:
In addition, some individuals may have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, but this is a less common occurrence. According to Dr. Shankaran, the majority of symptoms have a tendency to appear rather suddenly.
Instructions for Isolating the Flu
Unfortunately, if you are asymptomatic, it is probable that you will not be aware of the times when you should be isolating yourself. “You’re shedding the virus at the time of onset, but it can be up to 24 hours before you get the symptoms,” according to Dr. Shankaran. “If you know that you’ve had a pretty significant exposure to someone with the flu, you might want to consider being careful and perhaps wear a mask around the house.”
3. Pains throughout the body
4. Inflammation of the throat
5. A decrease in appetite
6. Congestion of the nasal passages
7. Ache in the head
8. Nose that is stuffy or runny
Isolating yourself until you have gone twenty-four hours without a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine is the usual rule of thumb. This should be done in conjunction with relieving your symptoms. Having said that, it is not impossible for a person who has the flu to continue to have a persistent cough even after their fever has subsided.
“It’s better to stay home if you are still coughing and having a lot of respiratory symptoms [even without] a fever,” according to the physician. “If you need to go to work, wear a mask to prevent potential spreading to others.”
Typical Treatments for the Influenza Virus
It is possible that many individuals who have the virus will be advised to remain at home, get lots of rest, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and also drink a lot of water while they are recuperating. “Adults can use over the counter cough and cold medications to help with symptomatic relief,” according to Dr. Shankaran. She makes the point that electrolyte-based beverages, such as Gatorade (which is sugar-free for diabetics) or Pedialyte, could also be beneficial for some individuals.
Tamiflu (also known as Oseltamivir) and baloxavir marboxil are two examples of antivirals that have the potential to provide rapid relief from symptoms. It is recommended by both Dr. Shankaran and Dr. Hijano that these drugs be taken as soon as feasible after they have been prescribed. Dr. Shankaran indicates that those who are immunocompromised should not use baloxavir marboxil since it is not advised for them.
Calling your physician to explore your choices and find out how you may get a prescription delivered to your neighborhood pharmacy is the first step you should take if you are of the opinion that you need antiviral medicine.
In the event that I get the flu, when should I go to the hospital or visit a doctor?
Due to the fact that the flu may go through a number of phases, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you should seek medical assistance. On the other hand, there are a few symptoms that are experienced less often that would indicate the necessity to see a physician or a hospital. These include the following:
- Having difficulty breathing
- Having difficulty catching your breath
- Pain in the chest
- Feeling lightheaded
- Emergencies in the neurological system
“[These symptoms] should prompt you immediately to be evaluated on a more urgent or emergent basis,” according to Dr. Shankaran. As an additional point of interest, she recommends that if you are immunocompromised and suspect that you have the flu, you should get in touch with your healthcare professional.
In addition, if you are able to be tested for influenza before seeking medical assistance, this may assist medical professionals in determining the most effective route of treatment.