With flu season officially here, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital wants to share some general information about the flu.
Many people mistakenly think that the flu must involve stomach nausea and vomiting, however the flu actually more closely mimics the common cold. The difference is that the flu is much more severe and makes you feel like you are being knocked off your feet.
Fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and a dry cough are all symptoms. The flu can also be accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting, but is usually more common in children. Colds do not result in serious health problems, but the flu can lead to pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalization.
The stomach flu is another illness altogether. Stomach flu refers to gastroenteritis, or irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. The stomach flu may be caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites in spoiled food or unclean water. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Fever, headache and swollen lymph glands might also be present.
The best way to prevent getting the flu is to be vaccinated. It is not too late to get a flu shot for this year – please contact your healthcare provider. The flu shot is highly effective, and even if you would still happen to catch the flu, the length and severity of illness is normally shorter and less extreme. In addition, there are daily steps you can take to help protect your health and the health of your family. For example:
Wash your hands often and the right way. Use soap and water for twenty seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This is how germs are spread.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Take preventative action – get lots of sleep, exercise daily, stay hydrated and eat healthily.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
If you do get sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.