Catching the Flu: What To Do First
While instances of the flu were dramatically reduced last year due in part to the precautions taken to slow the spread of COVID-19, seasonal flu is still very much a concern. With more people resuming some version of normal day-to-day activities, experts believe seasonal flu cases will rise this winter. But do you know what steps to take if you begin to experience symptoms that could be related to seasonal flu? Read our best suggestions below:
Talk to Your Doctor
Seasonal flu shares a variety of symptoms with other illnesses, including COVID-19. The first thing you should do is reach out and make an appointment with your doctor, either virtual or in person, to get the answers you need. If you begin to experience symptoms outside of normal business hours, urgent care locations are a great option for the treatment of minor illness and injuries, like colds, ear infections and seasonal flu. See options and schedule your appointment here.
There are approved anti-viral options for treating seasonal flu. However, these medications require a prescription and are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. This is another reason to prioritize speaking with or visiting your doctor’s office when you begin to feel unwell.
Take Care of Yourself
Getting enough rest can help provide protection from illness but is even more critical for recovery after you are sick. If you’re experiencing the body aches and fever that are hallmark symptoms of the flu, it’s critical to give your body the time and rest it needs. Your everyday work and tasks will still be there when you feel better.
Much like sleep, getting enough water is essential for your body to properly function and support your ability to perform everyday tasks. But symptoms common with seasonal illness, such as runny nose, sweating due to fever, or gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, force the body to expel more fluid than usual. Be sure to drink lots of clear liquids to avoid dehydration which will dramatically slow your recovery.
Not only do you need rest, staying home will help ensure you don’t spread the flu to others. The best rule of thumb is to stay home until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours. And to ensure you keep your family safe, self-isolate and increase indoor air circulation as much as possible.
Wash your hands, Social Distance, Wear a Mask
Everything we have done to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 also applies to seasonal flu. Wash your hands well and often, keep your distance, especially in indoor spaces, and if you have to go out or be around others, wear a mask to reduce spreading airborne respiratory droplets that can make another person ill.
Seasonal flu vaccines are available and an important protection for everyone! Just like the COVID-19 vaccines, flu vaccines are safe and proven to significantly reduce severe illness.