It’s Flu Season Again

It’s Flu Season Again

Do you have the flu?

I’m a senior person and have several chronic diseases, so I am very careful around flu season.  I have allergies also, so when is something an allergy or a cold or the flu?

If you feeling sneezy, stuffed up ad worn out,  you might be wondering, did I catch a cold or is it the flu? Knowing the symptoms of the illness can make a difference when it comes to how long it lasts. In this post, we shall be discussing the symptoms of the flu. But before we go into that, the first question is:

what is this disease called influenza?

First it is highly contagious, starts sometime in the late Fall season and it generally is confined to the nose, throat and lungs of relatively healthy people.  It is spread easily by touching things that a contagious person touched or through being around people who cough, talk (yes I said talk) or sneeze and think this is just their allergies acting up.  One thing to do is to try not touching your face with your hands, because someone may have touched that door handle on the way into a room and they may have the flu.  So, wash your hands a lot.  Carry around a small tube of hand cream and use it after you wash your hands thoroughly often.  

Every year the  people in charge of vaccines try to figure out, in advance, which types of A and B influenza viruses are going to be prevalent in what countries.  Several times they have not made the right decisions and they protected you from flu types that are not the ones that break out. Statistics show that more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized every year because of the complications of the flu.

And, as usual, Seniors and youngsters are most at risk.

Symptoms in Seniors

– Fever
– Cough
– Headache
– Runny or stuffy nose
– Aches and pains
– Sore throat
– Fatigue

When we get the flu, unless we treat it very quickly, by stopping activity, getting plenty of bed rest, having chicken soup, tea laced with honey, and going to the doctor, if those usual home remedies don’t work, we get complications.

Which can include ear infections, bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, Seizures, Diabetes, and  death due to our weakened immune systems.

Flu symptoms in children:

The main sign of flu with children, because how can you tell?.  They just feel terrible and say so.  So there are certain ways to tell if this is not just another cold.  For one thing, it comes on very quickly and consists of:

– High-grade temperature (up to 104 degrees F)
– Chills and shakes
– Muscle aches
– Sore throat
– Dry, hacking cough
– Headaches

In young children, six months to three years, symptoms of the illness may include abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Vomiting tends to be more prevalent than diarrhea. Also, temperature usually peeks, and and they are really hard to live with because they don’t feel good.

Flu in infants, below six months,  is less common, but symptoms can include poor feeding, lethargy and poor circulation.

For a normal adult, the symptoms are the same as Seniors, but generally don’t require quick emergency care because they are healthier and have better immune systems.  However, there are signs that should send you to the Emergency Room right away.

You need doctor intervention when you have:

– Difficulty breathing
– Prolonged high fever that does not come down with medications
– Seizures
– Dehydration
– Persistent vomiting
– Restlessness or irritability that is way more than usual in children      and also note listlessness or odd skin tone.

Flu is nothing to play around with, no matter what your age.  So, if the usual remedies don’t work and you aren’t getting better in about a week or so, call your doctor and ask him/her if you should be worried.