Influenza, also known as the flu, is a virus that can make you feel absolutely miserable. Most people who come down with the flu suffer from severe symptoms that can keep them bedridden for up to a week. The symptoms of the flu include:
- A high fever (100 degrees or higher)
- Extreme fatigue
- Severe muscle aches
- A cough (either a productive cough or a dry hacking cough)
- A stuffy nose or a runny nose
- A sore throat
In serious cases, the flu can result in complications. Pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu. In some cases, this type of pneumonia can land you in the hospital. It can even be deadly. If you want to keep from getting the flu, there are certain precautions that you should take during flu season.
When Does Flu Season Occur?
Typically, flu season begins in October. This is the time when the influenza activity begins. The peak time of flu season is between December and February. Typically, flu season lasts through March, however, there are some years where the flu activity can stretch out through May. It is possible to catch the flu at any time during the year, however, you are at higher risk during flu season.
How Can I Protect Myself During Flu Season?
Because the flu can keep you bedridden for up to a week, it can be a real inconvenience. Also, the flu can make you miserable. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can protect yourself to keep from getting sick during flu season.
- Get Vaccinated: The best way to keep from getting the flu is to get the flu vaccine at the beginning of flu season. There are many people who are afraid to get the flu vaccine because they are worried that it will cause the flu. This is not possible. The flu vaccine does contain the flu virus, however, the virus is dead. It is impossible to get sick from a dead virus. The Flu-Mist is a vaccine delivered via a nasal spray. This type of vaccine does contain the active flu virus, however, it is not enough to make you sick. Most years, there is a shortage of the flu vaccine at the beginning of flu season, therefore, you should make an appointment ahead of time to ensure that you get vaccinated at the beginning of flu season when your doctor receives their first round of vaccines.
- Wash Your Hands Often: The flu is a very contagious disease. It is typically passed from person to person by respiratory droplets. If a person with the flu touches something and you touch is after, you can develop the flu. The same is true if you shake hands with someone who is sick. Since the flu virus is capable of living on surfaces for 24 to 48 hours, you should wash your hands often. If you cannot get to a sink as often as you would like, you should carry around a bottle of hand sanitizer.
- Get Enough Sleep: During flu season, you should try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lower your immune system, making your more susceptible to catching the flu and other illnesses.
If you want to avoid getting the flu, you should start taking the proper precautions as soon as flu season begins. To be sure that there will be a flu vaccine available to you, it is best to call the doctor in September to make an appointment. The earlier you get the flu vaccine, the better.