By Catherine Carter, FNP at Urgent Care at Stansbury Springs
Influenza (“flu”) goes with winter like peanut butter goes with jelly. Influenza is a virus that loves the winter months, when we are all inside with our houses closed up. It can be spread in the warmer months as well, just not spread as often. It typically peaks around February/March time frame. Flu is transmitted through respiratory secretions via sneezing and coughing. The incubation period is typically 1-4 days. The symptoms of flu include abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, headache, plus sneezing, runny nose and mild cough. In the typical healthy person the symptoms will resolve within a week.
How to treat flu symptoms: If you think you may have the flu there are prescription medications available that can reduce the length of illness if started within a couple of days after symptoms develop. Otherwise treatment usually includes something for fever and body aches, sinus congestion and cough. Staying hydrated is important as well as using good hand hygiene to prevent spreading the virus to others.
The best way to prevent from getting the flu is through vaccination. If flu is a self-limiting virus then why is the flu vaccine encouraged? Health care providers don’t worry so much about the healthy adult population when it comes to the flu as much as the young children and older adults whose immune systems may not be as robust. There’s also a population of people who fight other immune disorders and cannot take the vaccine. These populations are at an increased risk of developing complications like pneumonia or other secondary bacterial infections that can become life threatening. By vaccinating the relatively healthy population the risk to the more vulnerable people reduces.
If you think you may have the flu we are happy to evaluate your symptoms with you at Urgent Care at Stansbury Springs.
Urgent Care at Stansbury Springs hours: Mon – Saturday 8 – 8 and Sunday 1 – 5.