Flu season creeps up on us every year—and this year, it’ll be a bit different. As we continue to face the reality of COVID-19, it’s vital to understand how to best protect you and your family from the flu. It might be difficult to know whether you have flu symptoms or another virus, let alone knowing if it will even affect you. Influenza is a viral and contagious infection that can attack the body in multiple ways, presenting mild to severe symptoms.
How exactly can you help ward off the flu or prevent it altogether? Will you need a flu shot or can you get by with changing your sanitary habits and taking precautionary measures? We’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to prepare for this year’s flu season.
Do I Have the Flu? Signs and Symptoms
The flu is primarily a respiratory virus which causes the infected person to have numerous signs and symptoms. Some people may have mild symptoms and others may experience severe symptoms. Generally, the flu’s symptoms are akin to the common cold. However, this year we also need to be cautious of COVID-19. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:
- Body aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
If you have any of these symptoms and they become severe, head to your nearest Urgency Room to be seen by a board-certified emergency room physician for treatment.
How to Ward off the Flu
Even if you seem perfectly healthy, you may be at risk of catching the flu. There are several ways to help prevent yourself from getting sick. Let’s take a look at these five ways to help ward off the flu.
Get Your Flu Vaccine Early
The strain of flu that circulates each year is always changing, therefore we always recommend getting an updated flu vaccine every season. This year is especially important and it’s essential to get yours early. With COVID-19 still making its way around and occupying protective measures, flu season may come with a sneaky blow to the health of the general population.
Wash Your Hands Properly
Advising you to wash your hands may seem like trivial advice, but it cannot be stressed enough. The flu virus can live on surfaces that we touch regularly, especially in public places. We recommend washing your hands frequently and for a minimum of 20 seconds. This is especially important before preparing and handling food. We also recommend avoiding touching your face, nose, and eyes.
Clean and Disinfect Surfaces
No doubt, you’ve probably been getting into the habit of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and items due to COVID-19. These measures continue to remain important as we head into flu season. Maintaining a clean home and frequently disinfecting surfaces can reduce your risk of contracting the flu. Wipe down door knobs, countertops, toys, light switches, and other high-touch surfaces multiple times a day.
Avoid Large Crowds
It can be difficult to avoid crowds during the holiday season, especially with the cold. On top of that, people tend to congregate closely in schools, at events, and in the workplace. While we may be used to avoiding crowds because of the pandemic, it’s still important to do your best to avoid crowded places in order to lower your risk of getting the flu.
Keep Your Immune System in Check
Taking steps to strengthen your immune system is a vital endeavor in the effort to protect yourself against illnesses. Having a strong immune system helps your body fight infections like the flu, as well as reduce the severity of symptoms if you do become sick. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep at night is imperative. High-quality sleep is essential to a well-functioning immune system.
We also recommend making sure you’re maintaining regular physical activity. Thirty minutes of exercise at least three times a week. Eating a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants is another important aspect. Limit your junk food, sugar, and fatty foods intake to promote good health.
Get Back on Your Feet with Help From The Urgency Room
If you have fallen ill from influenza, you’re not alone. We understand the desire to get back to feeling healthy again as soon as possible. Nothing feels worse than sitting around, wishing you felt better. If your symptoms worsen, head over to your nearest Urgency Room today to be diagnosed and treated.
We are open 365 days a year at convenient locations in Eagan, Woodbury, and Vadnais Heights and our board-certified emergency room physicians will be able to see you quicker than in a regular emergency room. Don’t wait to feel better – head to the Urgency Room today!