What You Need to Know About the Flu This Year

Date Created: 11/03/2017
By Christopher Hamann, M.D., ABEM, ACEP

how you can beat the flu this year

Coughing, sneezing and sniffling can all be signs of a cold. There are times when those symptoms come on very quickly and also are combined with severe aches, extreme fatigue, flushed skin and a sore throat. All those signs together, could mean that you have the flu. There’s no guaranteed way to protect you or your loved ones       from contracting the flu; however, the flu shot is the most effective way to keep the disease at bay.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommends everyone receive their flu shot by the end of October as flu activity is common in the fall and winter months but peaks during December through February. Even though the flu virus can change, the flu shot will still lessen the symptoms of flu and shorten the duration of the illness.

Two weeks after you receive your flu shot, antibodies develop that provide protection against the infection. The more people who receive the flu vaccine the less it can spread throughout the community. This vaccine is your best defense against the flu.

Most people who catch the flu will recover within a few days and do not require a visit to the emergency room. But if you have the following symptoms, a visit to GuideWell Emergency Doctors  may be your best option.

Emergency Warning Signs of Flu in Children:

·         Fast or troubled breathing

·         Not drinking enough fluids

·         Not waking up or interacting

·         Fever with a rash

In adults:

·         Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

·         Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

·         Sudden dizziness

·         Confusion

·         Severe or persistent vomiting

These signs provided by the CDC are those of a more mild flu virus, and you should be seen at an urgent care center or walk-in clinic immediately. Unless you are going to a doctor’s appointment, staying home is your best option as not to infect others around you. If you must leave the house, remember to wash your hands frequently and wear a facemask if you have one.

Cold vs. Flu

It can be difficult to know whether you have the flu or just a cold because they have similar symptoms and are both respiratory illnesses. Typically, the flu is worse than a cold because the symptoms are more intense and appear suddenly. Colds usually come on slowly and last longer.

Colds do not result in serious medical conditions whereas the flu can results in sinus and ear infections as a moderate complication. A more serious complication from flu is pneumonia, which requires medical attention. If your flu symptoms don’t subside after a couple of days, antiviral drugs can be prescribed to lessen the illness by one to two days.

200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of the flu. If you’re in the Orlando area suffering from a cold or the flu, visit GuideWell Emergency Doctors! We are an urgent care facility that offers a high-quality, cost-effective care alternative to meet your unscheduled medical needs. 

Christopher Hamann, M.D., ABEM, ACEP

Dr. Hamann is board certified with the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Florida HSC, Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Hamann has held positions as Staff Physician at Cleveland Clinic Hospital-Naples and as Assistant Director of Emergency Medicine at Physicians Regional Medical System in Naples, Florida. Dr. Hamann has many interests including architecture, landscape design, surfing, paddle boarding, mountain biking, cooking, and baking. He and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters.

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