It’s never too early to talk about cold and flu tips. Flu season in the United States occurs throughout the fall and winter with activity usually peaking in January or February. But cases of flu in the United States often begin popping up as early as September.
Ohio is among the states reporting high influenza-like-illness activity over the past few years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
What Increases Flu Risk?
The flu is a very contagious disease, caused by the influenza virus. It can be spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions. The germs are spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. The virus can also be spread when someone touches a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touch their own mouth or nose.
- If you visit crowded places, such as malls, schools, daycare centers, and nursing homes
- If you have a weakened immune system caused by a recent illness or stress
- If you have a chronic medical condition (i.e. kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, HIV infection)
While they may seem simple, there are a few things you can do to help prevent the flu:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Get plenty of rest
- Get the Flu Vaccine
Typically, flu symptoms start to show 1 to 5 days after an adult has been exposed to the virus, which means you can be sick at the office and not even know it.
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
If You Contract the Flu:
- Drink plenty of water, sports drinks and soup. However, you should avoid drinking fluids that have caffeine, like coffee, tea, cola drinks.
- If you have nasal congestion, you can make a simple nasal nose drop or you can purchase at the store. A quarter teaspoon of salt and 4 ounces of warm water, shaken into a class. Inhale through the nose and exhaling can clear the nasal passages of secretions and mucus.
- Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in smaller sized rooms.
- Wash your hands often
- Use warm heating pads for muscle aches
- Take Acetaminophen or aspirin for adults (must be over the age of 18)
- Take decongestants, cough medicine or throat lozenges
If you have any questions regarding the flu, please contact your primary care physician.