There is a chill in the air, and you cannot seem to get warm. You feel tired, and your body aches. You try to get up, but your head hurts too much. Suddenly, you feel too warm, while your nose starts running or feels stuffy. Coughing or a sore throat begins to overwhelm you. All you want to do is stay in bed. Every single symptom you are experiencing points to the flu.
For the next few days, you are better off staying home and resting until you feel better. It is important to get plenty of rest and plenty of fluids. However, beverages which contain caffeine should be avoided. Antibiotics are not effective when fighting the flu, as it is a virus and is not caused by bacteria. Antibiotics are typically prescribed to treat bacterial infections.
You should call your doctor if you feel you are getting worse instead of better, or if you are experiencing trouble breathing or other complications, such as a sinus infection.
The flu can be prevented with thorough hand washing after coming into contact with anyone who is infected or after you cough or sneeze.
According to www.CDC.gov/flu, anyone age 65 or older, children younger than five, and people with any chronic medical conditions are at high risk for the flu and should be vaccinated. It is also recommended that anyone six months old and older be vaccinated.
Flu season generally begins around October, peaking in February, and continuing until May. Vaccinations should be obtained before the start of flu season, to be most effective. However, they can be obtained early in the season.
Flu shots are usually available from your doctor, healthcare provider, and local pharmacies, such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, or your local grocery store.
Side effects from the flu shot may include soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given; a low-grade fever; or body aches.
Anyone with severe allergic reactions to eggs or who are allergic to any part of the vaccine; those who have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past; those with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome; or those who are severely to moderately ill should not receive a flu vaccination.
If you are unsure about receiving a flu vaccination, be sure to contact your doctor or healthcare provider.