This has been one of the worst and longest lasting Influenza (flu) seasons compared to the average, with more of a risk for the elderly according to the CDC. Children are also seriously at risk; which definitely has parents concerned. You see it everywhere you go, people coughing, sneezing, and wiping their noses. Meanwhile you and your children are wishing for face masks to prevent getting infected. Here are some things you need to know and some tips on prevention.
Why is this time of year considered flu season and the worst time for contracting the flu?
- Cold weather and less sunlight tends to encourage people to stay indoors and choose indoor activities. With this comes an easier way for germs to spread.
- No fresh air, close quarters, and a surplus of people contribute to the dispersal of the virus. Perfect examples include instead of taking your children to the park or zoo you (along with many other parents) may opt for arcades, movie theatres, and indoor play places in the wintertime, which tend to breed germs from kids wiping their noses and sneezing all over equipment and each other.
What can I do to prevent it?
- The most common and simple things that you can do to avoid the flu is frequent hand washing for at least 30 seconds on all surfaces, avoiding close contact with others who are sick, and by getting the flu vaccine, preferably at the beginning of flu season via either shot or nose spray (for children). Remember the nose spray vaccine contains the live flu virus and can cause sudden onset of a cold; however my children were just fine with theirs.
How do I know if I have the flu and should go to the doctor?
- Most common symptoms include severe sore throat, coughing, low grade (100.4-102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) to high grade fever (over 104 degrees Fahrenheit), congestion, chills, and intense body aches.
- A visit to the doctor may be necessary and could result in antibiotics being prescribed depending on the diagnosis and the intensity of symptoms.
Are there home remedies that help to improve the symptoms?
- The use of a humidifier at night helps to moisten the air and fight congestion while you sleep.
- Use nasal rinses for congestion if not too severely congested.
- Warm showers in the morning aid in loosening up chest congestion.
- An over the counter fever reducer and pain medicine may be necessary. For children opt for a longer lasting medicine such as Ibuprofen.
- Soup actually helps to warm the body and soothe a sore throat.
- Sore throat sprays help to temporarily numb the throat area.