New Year's Resolution: Shoo the Flu in 2016!
Happy New Year! Now that the ball has dropped and the holidays are in the rear-view, you’re likely thinking about how to get a jump-start on your New Year’s Resolutions. No matter what your goal may be for 2016, one we can all agree on is protecting yourself and others from the flu. The Minnesota Department of Health has reported that the flu is still contained to small areas across the state, though historically flu season tends to peak around mid-January.
Here are some tips to help shoo the flu:
- Get your flu shot. Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself, and it’s not too late to get one. Even if you get vaccinated and come down with the virus, the flu shot will help reduce the duration and severity of the illness. The Centers for Disease Control recommend everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine each year.
- Stay healthy. Help keep your immune system healthy by getting plenty of rest, staying physically active and eating healthy. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Be on the lookout for flu symptoms. The flu is highly contagious from the day before symptoms appear and up to seven days after they start. Signs that you may have the flu include: a fever of 100F and above, a prominent headache, extreme exhaustion and a dry cough. These symptoms often appear suddenly, compared to a cold when they appear gradually.
- Managing flu symptoms. Influenza is caused by a virus, so antibiotics are not effective against it. In most cases, people with the flu can manage with self-treatment and do not need to come into the clinic, urgent care or the emergency department. For those who are not at risk of flu complications, physicians recommend getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of hydrating fluids and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help lower your temperature.
- Stay home. If you have the flu you should make sure to stay at home, away from work, school and social gatherings to prevent spreading the flu. You should be fever-free for 24 hours without medication before returning to work.
- Get medical treatment from home. The flu is highly contagious and self-treatment is often the recommended form of care. If you think you may need in-person medical care, consider calling the CareLine (for HealthPartners plan members) or visiting virtuwell.com to get your diagnosis and treatment from home. This helps reduce the risk of spreading the flu or contracting the virus, and these clinicians will let you know if they recommend you seeing a physician in-person.
Know when you should go in to be treated. You should seek in-person treatment if you have the flu-like symptoms and are having difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, experience sudden dizziness or confusion, or severe vomiting. You should also consult your doctor if you have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or respiratory disease.
Make 2016 your healthiest and happiest yet!