Flu Season Protection Tips

flu season protection tips
Sep 10, 2020
Last updated on Sep 14, 2023
3 mins read
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Flu Season Protection Tips | America Homecare

With cold and flu season approaching, here are some flu season protection tips and some information on the flu. Protection and precaution are especially important in this pandemic.

What is the flu?

Influenza is a contagious respiratory infection caused by flu viruses that travel through the air and enter the body through the nose or mouth. About 8% of Americans get the flu yearly, ranging between 3 and 11%, and anyone is susceptible to it.

Its symptoms range from mild to severe. These can include fever, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, and headache. The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms develop more suddenly and severely. Flu symptoms can also overlap with COVID-19.

What causes the flu?

When one infected with the flu coughs or sneezes, droplets are released into the air. Another person can catch the flu by breathing in these droplets or by touching an object that has these droplets on it then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose.

If you have the flu, you can spread the virus a day before your symptoms develop and up to seven days after you become sick. People with the flu are most contagious during the first 3 to 4 days of their illness. Having the flu in the past does not mean you cannot get it again.

Who are at risk?

The ones most at risk during flu season include these demographics.

  • children younger than 4 years old
  • adults older than 65
  • seniors who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • pregnant people or those up to two weeks postpartum
  • people who have a weakened immune system
  • those who have a chronic illness
  • people with a body mass index of 40 or higher

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of influenza are often similar to those of a common cold and COVID-19. This may include some or all of the following:

  • Fever or feeling feverish
  • Achy muscles – especially in your back, arms, and legs
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Chills and sweats
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Knowing the symptoms is important in flu season protection. If you experience symptoms during flu season when you are generally healthy, you might can treat them with rest and over-the-counter medication. The most vulnerable are at-risk demographics like children, the elderly, pregnant people, and people who live with chronic conditions.

A cold is milder than the flu and comes on more gradually. Influenza hits hard.

If you decide to visit your doctor to test for the flu, you may be prescribed an antiviral to treat it if you have the flu. Other methods to treat it include rest, drinking fluids, and pain relievers for head and muscle aches. You might also have a known method that works for you during flu season.

It is very important that you visit or talk with your doctor if you have a health condition and you get the flu.

flu vs cold

Flu complications

Healthy people typically recover from the flu once the virus passes. However, those at high risk of complications may develop complications, which can be deadly. These complications include:

  • Sinus and ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues
  • Multi-organ failure
  • Sepsis, a life-threatening response to infection
  • Worsening of conditions such as heart disease

Flu season protection tips

Along with getting your flu shot, these steps can help reduce the risk of catching influenza. A flu shot should be taken every year. Flu shots are very important since COVID-19’s spread.

  • Wash your hands. Use soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds (or as long as the Happy Birthday song).
    • When soap isn’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and discard the tissue.
    • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Avoid crowded areas. The flu spreads more easily in heavily trafficked places such as public transportation, schools, and offices.
    • If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after any fever subsides.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid germs entering your body.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects such as keyboards, doorknobs, and telephones that may be contaminated with germs.
  • Follow state orders that are in place to prevent the spread of the  coronavirus, which may include wearing a face mask in public and maintaining a six-foot distance from others.

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To see previous posts we’ve covered with some helpful tips and information on the coronavirus (COVID-19), be sure to visit our category page or you can view this post with all the infographics for easy printing or reviewing.

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