Flu: Symptoms, treatment, and prevention

It's been a bad flu season so far, but there are plenty of ways to keep from getting sick. There are also ways to get better if you do fall ill. Matt Cobb from the new South Bangerter Health Center shares some ways to treat and prevent the flu.

Matt Cobb from the new South Bangerter Health Center shares some ways to treat and prevent the flu.

Not to be mistaken with stomach flu viruses, influenza (flu) is a viral infection that attacks the nose, throat, and lungs. Most people who catch the flu can successfully treat their symptoms at home; however, some people at higher risk can develop flu complications that are difficult to treat. It is important to take preventive measures, know the symptoms of flu, and treat symptoms if you happen to develop them.

Symptoms of the flu
- Fever over 100 F
- Achy muscles, especially in back and limbs
- Chills and sweating
- Dry cough
- Fatigue
- Nasal congestion
- Headache

Treatment for the flu
Most of the time, bed rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter pain medication will effectively ease flu symptoms. In certain situations, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medication.

If your condition worsens, seek medical attention. In some cases, the flu virus can cause pneumonia because the immune system is in a weakened state. It is important not to ignore symptoms such as coughing, fever, and trouble breathing, especially after flu symptoms have peaked. Flu combined with pneumonia can be deadly if you do not seek medical attention immediately.

Preventive measures
- Receiving an annual flu vaccination
- Frequent and thorough hand washing
- Covering mouth and nose with crook of elbow when sneezing or coughing
- Avoiding large crowds during peak flu season

The Centers for Disease Control recommends annual vaccinations for people over the age of 6 months. The vaccination is available as an injection or as a nasal mist.
 

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