Wake up feeling feverish and sneezing? Do your muscles ache? How do you know if it’s the cold or the flu?
Flu season is fast approaching and Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River is helping its patients remain healthy with tips on what to look for this season.
Know the difference between a common cold and the flu.
A cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu. While one feels bad for a few days with a cold, flu symptoms can make him or her ill for a few days and maybe even weeks.
The flu can also result in a serious illness such as pneumonia which can require hospitalization.
Both the cold and the flu are caused by viruses so it’s important to understand that antibiotics won’t make anyone feel better.
Those with a persistent fever, a persistent cough and congestion with headaches or pain when swallowing should seek emergency medical care.
Prevention is key
Flu season generally runs from the end of November through early March.
The flu virus is transmitted from person to person by droplets that are expelled when someone coughs or sneezes. The droplets inhaled by another person, the host, where it attaches to and penetrates the lining of the trachea and lungs.
The virus “sheds” from the day before symptoms occur to about five days after symptoms begin. Therefore, when the person touches objects, such as doorknobs, phones or desktops, and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth, it can result in an indirect transmission of the virus.
Remember, frequent hand washing and surface cleaning are critical in preventing the spread of the flu, and get vaccinated.