As is expected this time of year, seasonal influenza has officially arrived in our area. According to the CDC’s Flu surveillance reports, widespread flu activity was reported in 24 states last week, including California. While we certainly hope that this season’s flu vaccine is well-matched to prevent the spread of the circulating strains of the virus, now is the time to take extra good care of yourself and your loved ones to prevent the spread of both cold and flu viruses. The common cold or other viruses can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from the flu, but typically the flu is more severe with symptoms including:
- Abrupt onset of ill-feeling, often with a high fever (>102) and sometimes chills
- Muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue
- Dry hacking cough and sore throat with stuffy nose
- Some people may have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
If you think you or your child may have the flu, please contact your doctor to review the symptoms to determine if antiviral treatment is necessary. When treatment is started within days of becoming sick, antiviral therapy can lessen symptoms and hasten recovery, reduce complications and prevent spread of disease. If you (or your loved ones) haven’t had the flu shot this season (starting September 2018), give us a call to schedule a quick vaccine appointment ASAP as it takes about a week to take effect and can still provide you protection for the rest of the season (which usually lasts in California until March). Most importantly- stay healthy: Wash your hands, get plenty of sleep, exercise, avoid people with coughs and colds and follow these tips from the CDC.
Dr. Jackie Phillips