Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Some people, including the elderly, infants and pregnant women at high risk for serious flu complications.
The flu is a tricky virus that mutates every year. While that may make it more challenging to predict the most infectious strands, healthcare researchers use flu data from the other side of the world, where flu season begins earlier than the US. That information is what helps the United States select which strands to use to create the most effective vaccine.
Click to Enlarge: The Flu vs. A Cold – Which Do I Have?
The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year:
Read: Common Objections to the Flu Vaccine (and their answers!)
Harrington Physician Services will hold two Flu Clinics for existing HPS primary care patients of all ages. The clinics will be held Saturday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 20. Click on the flyers below to enlarge:
You can also take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs:
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
- If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Stay home from work or keep your children from school. Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine before returning to work/school.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
- Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 48 hours of getting sick.
Period of Contagiousness
It is possible to pass the flu on to someone else before you even know you are sick, as well as when you are feeling symptoms. According to the CDC:
- People with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins.
- Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
- Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.
Read: FAQs about the 2018-2019 Flu Season
Flu Season and Masking
As flu season progresses at Harrington, we monitor our daily census, patient acuity and Flu outbreak reports carefully. If flu season becomes very active or dangerous, our Infection Prevention Department abides by an enforced mask policy, whereby individuals who are not vaccinated are required to wear a mask in all patient-care areas. This is required of all employees, physicians, and volunteers and includes areas like a patient’s room, cubicle, procedure room or examination room.