Winter weather has arrived and so has the flu. Know the basics about how the flu is spread, symptoms and the best ways to prevent it.
What is influenza (also called the "flu")?
Influenza is commonly called the "flu." Influenza is a highly contagious disease that infects the nose, throat, and lungs and can cause moderate to severe illness, including death.
When does flu occur?
Flu activity is elevated in the fall and winter months, but cases are reported all year.
What are the symptoms of flu?
People with flu often have:
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Body aches
• Fatigue (tiredness)
• Some people may have vomiting or diarrhea, though this is more common in kids than adults.
If you or someone you know has these symptoms and they are severe, contact your doctor, nurse, or clinic as soon as possible. The best way to tell if you have flu is for a healthcare provider to swab your throat and have a lab confirm the diagnosis.
How do you prevent the flu?
The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year as soon as it's available. If you have questions about the flu shot, talk with your health care provider. Other healthy habits can also help stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses: washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when you're sick.
If you are suffering from flu-like symptoms, walk-ins are welcome at our PMH Family Medicine clinics in Prosser (509) 786-1576 and Benton City (509) 588-4075.
Source: Washington State Dept. of Health, www.doh.wa.gov