As the summer days slowly fall away, fall begins to peek its head around the corner. While the cool season brings forth pumpkin spice lattes, crisp autumn leaves, and fun holidays ahead, it also means the infamous flu season is around the bend.
Today at AG Urgent Care, let’s learn more about the upcoming flu season and how you can prepare yourself and your loved ones against the common illness.
What Are the Flu Symptoms?
The flu, or otherwise known as influenza, is a viral illness that infects your nose, throat, and lungs. There are two main types of flu, recognized as Types A and B. They are the viruses that typically spread in humans and cause the seasonal flu epidemics that we know all too well. The most common symptoms of flu include:
- Fever and chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body and muscle aches
- Headaches and fatigue
- Vomiting or diarrhea
The symptoms in any influenza case can range from mild to severe, with complications that can result in hospitalizations or deaths in the most vulnerable populations.
When is Flu Season?
The flu season in the United States begins rising as early as October before it peaks out around January or February. To avoid catching the flu during this time, everyone should get an annual flu vaccination early on. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ideal time is well before the flu season begins, between the months of September and October. Even if that timeframe is missed, the CDC still encourages vaccinations all throughout the flu season.
How to Prepare for Flu Season
With mask and quarantine requirements becoming looser, the flu season is likely to be more serious this year. To make sure you stay illness-free, take a look at the four tips below to fortify yourself against the flu.
1. Get your flu shot
A flu shot contains weakened or deactivated flu viruses which helps your immune system learn how to fight them before you encounter the strong versions. This process reduces your risk of getting the flu by 40-60%. Even if you do catch influenza, the vaccine can make your symptoms less severe and go away faster.
In general, the CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 month and older should get vaccinated every year. The earlier before the flu season the better, as it usually takes 2 weeks to fully develop antibodies after a shot.
2. Keep your mask on
Because the flu spreads similarly to the coronavirus through respiratory droplets, a mask can provide additional protection in crowded spaces. It can also help protect you from other respiratory illnesses during the flu season.
3. Wash your hands
Washing your hands frequently means the flu viruses have less of a chance to infect you if you accidentally rub your eyes or nose. Make sure this is a practice that you and your younger children build into your healthy habits.
4. Seek treatment if you get sick
If you think you’ve caught the flu or any other respiratory illness, you can call a healthcare provider for guidance on next steps. At AG Urgent Care, our healthcare specialists are prepared to get you tested and recommend a treatment plan to help you get better. While you rest at home, we can prescribe the medications and action steps you need to boost your recovery. Ready to brave through the flu season and stay healthy? Don’t hesitate to check in online to one of our centers in Brooklyn and Queens to learn more about the flu season and how you can prepare today.