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Don't Let the Flu Get You!

No one wants the flu. But the reality is, anyone can get it … even healthy people. So what can you do to reduce your risk of getting sick this flu season? Get the flu shot. The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated every year, so make it a priority to get your flu shot as soon as possible.

Think you may already have the flu?

You may have the flu if you have some or all of the flu-like symptoms listed below. If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others to prevent the spread of illness.

  • Fever*
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes diarrhea or vomiting


*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How to treat flu symptoms.

Most people with the flu only experience mild illness and don’t need medical care. St. Claire HealthCare recommends:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Taking acetaminophen for symptoms (Avoid using aspirin)

Who should seek medical care for flu-like symptoms?

St. Claire HealthCare, in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends flu testing and antiviral treatment for the following list of high-risk groups that are known to have an increased risk of serious complications and for those who are very sick with flu-like symptoms.

  • Children younger than 5, especially children 2 years and under
  • Adults 65 years or older
  • Women who are pregnant
  • Residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)

Treatment with antivirals works best when begun within 48 hours of getting sick, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness.

Seek medical care if you have emergency warning signs of flu.

Adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain/pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness or confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

Get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

How to protect others from the flu.

Most people with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins, but you may be able to pass the flu on as early as 1 day before your symptoms develop, and up to 7 days after becoming sick. To help reduce the risk of spreading illness, St. Claire HealthCare recommends:

  • Avoiding contact with others as much as possible. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Practicing continuous hand hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

If you haven’t already received your flu shot, make it a priority to get yours today! Walk-ins are welcome at St. Claire Family Medicine Express from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, or click here to request an appointment at a St. Claire Family Medicine location near you.

Click here to download the "Think You May Have The Flu?" Poster.