Flu season, December through March, is here! People over 60 years of age and those with chronic illnesses like asthma, heart disease or diabetes, should get vaccinated for influenza (the flu) in the fall every year to avoid pneumonia and other complications. Flu shots can be received from doctor’s offices or from drug stores on designated dates.

For people over 60 or adults with chronic illnesses, flu shots are provided free from County of Orange Health Care Agency at numerous community sites throughout the county.

Some general information on the flu:

How can you avoid getting or spreading the flu?

• Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water.
• Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing.
• Get plenty of rest.
• Eat well: lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grain bread products.
• Dress appropriately for the weather.
• Minimize the time you spend in crowded places with people you don’t know (especially children) from December through March.
• If a relative at a family gathering appears ill, skip the kisses and hugs this time.
• Avoid contact with others when you are not feeling well.

How can you tell it’s the flu and not just a cold? (Both are viral infections.)

• Both colds and flu involve nasal/sinus congestion, headaches, possibly sore throat, coughing, and fever.
• Flu can bring a fever of up to 104 degrees, chills, whole body aches, weakness, loss of appetite, dry cough, and a severely sore throat. A middle-aged person with the flu is usually too sick to get out of bed for 3-5 days.

What do you do if it is the flu?

• The flu, (like a cold) is NOT treatable with antibiotics, so the general recommendation is to treat the symptoms with over-the-counter cold and flu medications, drink lots of clear fluids, have light meals, and bed rest.
• If the flu changes to a bacterial inflection, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, the doctor will, then prescribe antibiotics.
• Elderly people and those with chronic diseases should see their doctor whenever illness is prolonged, if they have a high fever, or if they experience difficulty breathing.

 

 

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