ON HEALTH ‘Tis the (flu) sea­son!

The Avenue News - - NEWS - By: ANNA RE­NAULT

‘Tis the sea­son! Sadly, I don’t mean the hol­i­day sea­son. It’s flu sea­son. Peo­ple ev­ery­where seem to have the snif­fles or a cough/sneez­ing prob­lem. There are those who have tummy is­sues such as nau­sea, vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhea. But when are any or all of those symp­toms ac­tu­ally a case of the flu? When is it time go to the doc­tor?

Flu is a con­ta­gious res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness caused by the flu viruses. Some cases are mild, while oth­ers are more se­vere. Peo­ple can, and some­time do, die from the flu. It is im­por­tant there­fore to know when do you have a cold (mild, se­vere or in­be­tween) and when do you have the flu.

Some of the most com­mon flu symp­toms are fever, feel­ing hot or cold, cough­ing, sore throat, nose is­sues (ei­ther runny or stuffy), var­i­ous mus­cle or body aches, headaches and tired­ness. Some folks also have nau­sea, vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhea. Many pa­tients of­ten say they feel like they have been hit by a bus, truck or train. For sure, you do not feel well and want what­ever it is you have to go away.

The ques­tion be­comes is it flu or a cold? Some gen­eral guide­lines pro­vided by the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC) to help peo­ple de­cide:

When some­body has the flu, the symp­toms ap­pear abruptly. With a cold they are more grad­ual with one or two symp­toms grad­u­ally ac­com­pa­nied by oth­ers. One big dif­fer­ence is those with a fever usu­ally have the flu. Colds rarely do. Those with flu of­ten have more se­vere body aches com­pared to a sim­pler cold. An­other big dif­fer­ence be­tween the two sit­u­a­tions is the sneez­ing/stuffy nose/sore throat, which are com­mon place with a cold, but not usu­ally with flu. The headache is an­other symp­tom com­mon with flu but rare with a cold.

A very im­por­tant thing for ev­ery­one to re­mem­ber is to know what your body feels like when it is well or “nor­mal.” You need to be able to iden­tify when things change. Again, a grad­ual change usu­ally sig­nals cold but abrupt on-set can mean flu.

There is re­ally not a hard and fast rule for when you should go to the doc­tor. This is some­thing you and your doc­tor should dis­cuss dur­ing a well­ness visit. When is it im­por­tant for you to visit the of­fice when you are feel­ing un­well? El­derly and young chil­dren are at high risk for flu com­pli­ca­tions. Pa­tients with other dis­eases like heart con­di­tions, di­a­betes and many other things need to know when it is best for them to be seen when symp­toms oc­cur.

Should you get a flu shot? Will it pre­vent you from get­ting the flu? Again, this is a dis­cus­sion to have with your doc­tors. You need to re­mem­ber that of­ten times peo­ple still de­velop the flu, but hope­fully the vac­cine will en­sure your flu is mild rather than se­vere. Do you have ques­tions about this? See your doc­tor!

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