Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each fall.
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Flu Prevention Letter from Dr. John H. Armstrong, MD, FACS
How Do You Know if it is the Flu?
- Body aches and pains
- Cough and chest discomfort which may become severe
- Early and significant exhaustion
- Fatigue and weakness that may last up to 2–3 weeks
- High fever (102–104 degrees F) for 3–4 days
- Occasional stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat
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Follow these simple steps to prevent the flu:
- Get Vaccinated!
- Wash your hands often—the most common way to catch the flu is to touch your own eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Keep your distance from others when you are sick.
- Keep your distance if you are around someone else who is sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing.
- If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Be aware you can still spread germs up to 7 days after getting sick.
- Vaccinate—get your flu shot. Additionally, Pneumococcal vaccine is available and recommended for persons at increased risk for serious Pneumococcal infection, including those age 2 years or older with certain chronic medical conditions and all persons aged 65 years or older.
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What to Do if You Get the Flu?
- Consider layered apparel for body temperature changes.
- Do not share cups and eating utensils.
- Do not take aspirin products without physician approval.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Over-the-counter cold or cough medicines may also relieve some flu symptoms. Check with your doctor.
- Sleep and take it easy.
- Take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) to relieve your fever and aches.
- Wash your hands frequently.
Most people who get the flu recover without having to see their healthcare provider. If your flu symptoms worsen, you have a high temperature for more than a few days, or if you seem better but then feel worse, call your healthcare provider right away.
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