Each year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records millions of Americans who are sick with the flu yet the real numbers may be even higher due to people who treat the flu at home and never seek medical care.
Flu season can impact people in many ways from being physically ill to missing work days due to feeling under the weather. Drs. Ines Munoz De Laborde and Svetlana Burkhead know that flu season can come with many questions. That’s why we’ve created this guide to answer all of your frequently asked questions about flu season 一 including what we can do here at Physicians Medical Urgent Care in San Jose, California to help you stay healthy this flu season.
When does flu season start?
Technically, you can be diagnosed with the flu at any point throughout the year, but in the United States, flu cases spike in the fall and winter. Flu season tends to start in October and peaks between December and February.
The flu isn’t the only illness that is more prevalent in the fall and winter months. Common colds and other respiratory illnesses can spread easier when more people are closer together indoors.
What happens if you have the flu?
The most common flu symptoms are fever, body aches, cough, fatigue, sore throat, and nasal congestion. While many people recover at home, the flu can cause complications, especially in people with underlying conditions. Complications of the flu include bacterial pneumonia, infections (such as ear and sinus infections), and an exacerbation of chronic medical conditions, such as asthma.
The best way to prevent the flu is to practice good hygiene, but it’s not always possible to avoid it. The flu can spread easily from person to person, which makes it easier to catch once someone in your household has it. If you do have the flu, it’s important to stay hydrated, rest, and eat nourishing food. You may also find relief with throat lozenges, steamy showers, and fever reducers. It’s important to know that because the flu is a viral illness, antibiotics won’t help you feel better.
Not sure if you have the flu? Getting tested for the flu 一 available at our walk-in clinic 一 can confirm if your symptoms are related to the flu or not.
Can you prevent the flu?
Because the flu spreads through droplets when people cough, speak, or sneeze, it’s important to:
- Stay away from people who are ill
- Refrain from touching your own face
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
- Use hand sanitizer when soap is not available
- Wipe down shared surfaces in your house
- Refrain from sharing food and drinks with others
- Support your immune system with nutritious foods and adequate sleep each night
If you’re feeling under the weather, stay home to prevent spreading it to others. You can also reduce your risk of contracting the flu by receiving a flu vaccine.
Who needs a flu vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual flu vaccination for people six months and older, with a few exceptions such as those with allergies to the specific compounds in the vaccine.
Is the flu vaccine different this year?
Each year the flu vaccine composition is adjusted slightly to adjust for the current strains of the virus. This year, the CDC has announced that there are three flu vaccines that are recommended, especially for individuals over the age of 65. This includes the following three vaccines:
- Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent
- Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu
- Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu
You don’t have to worry about which vaccine you need. Our team is knowledgeable in all types of vaccines, including the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine. If you’re eligible for the vaccine, we recommend the right type for you.
Protect yourself against the flu! Visit our urgent care here on Capitol Avenue or give us a call at 408-207-4637.