Flu season is here, and already flu activity is widespread locally and nationally.
“The best prevention for the flu is getting an annual flu vaccination,” says Thomas McKeown, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. “If you haven’t yet received your vaccination, now is the time to get it. It takes about two weeks to build up protection.”
Dr. McKeown says the flu is a contagious disease that can result in hospitalization, even death. Anyone 6 months of age or older should get vaccinated, he says.
Dr. McKeown offers these common tips to help recognize, prevent and treat the flu:
- Symptoms have a rapid onset and can include muscle aches, sore throat, fever, headache, congestion and cough. These symptoms tend to be more severe than a cold and typically last for a week or two.
- Practice good health habits. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water (or alcohol-based sanitizer); cough or sneeze into your elbow not your hand; avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose. If ill, stay home from work or school.
- To alleviate symptoms, take pain relievers and/or cold medications. Drink plenty of liquids and rest.
- If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
You can also check out information on flu myths vs. facts here.