How Does The Flu Spread
The flu is contagious, which means it spreads from person to person. It mostly spreads through droplets in the air when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. It can spread from up to six feet away. Although it isnt as common, the flu can also spread from surfaces, for example, if you touch something the virus is on and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.
It’s possible to spread the flu before you feel sick and when you have symptoms. Typically, people with the flu can spread it a day before, and up to a week after feeling sick. Young children and people with weakened immune systems may be able to spread the flu for even longer. If you or someone you know is sick with the flu, take steps to help prevent spreading the disease.
Flu Symptoms Vs Cold Symptoms
The symptoms of colds and flu can be a lot alike. Hereâs how to tell which one is making you sick:
- Fever. It can last 3 or 4 days with the flu itâs rare with a cold.
- Aches. They might be severe with the flu theyâre mild with a cold.
- Chills. Youâre likely to have them with the flu, but theyâre rare with a cold.
- Fatigue. This is common with the flu and happens sometimes with a cold.
- Sneezing. Youâre more likely to have this with a cold than with the flu.
- Cough and chest discomfort. This is common with both but tends to be severe with the flu.
- Stuffy nose. This sometimes happens with the flu but is common with a cold.
- Sore throat. This can be common with the flu but is more likely with a cold.
- Headache. This is common when you have the flu but rare with a cold.
What Are The Symptoms Of Influenza
Flu symptoms often appear suddenly. People at higher risk of complications, such as those with chronic lung disease, should seek prompt medical attention. Treatment may include antiviral medicine which can reduce symptoms if started within a day or two of getting sick.
Symptoms of influenza can include:
- Sudden onset of high fever
- Headache, muscle aches and joint pain
- Nasal congestion and runny nose
- Stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea may occur but are more common in children than adults.
Most people recover from the flu within one or two weeks, but others, especially the elderly, may feel weak for a long time even after other symptoms go away.
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Who Should Get The Flu Vaccine
Its recommended that everyone 6 months or older should get an influenza vaccine each year. You will protect yourself and other people around you. People who have any of the following conditions are at high risk of becoming seriously ill from influenza :
- Lung disease.
You also have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from influenza if you:
- Are younger than 2 years, or over 65 years old.
- Are pregnant and for 2 weeks after delivery
- Are under 19 years old and must take aspirin regularly.
- Live in a nursing home.
If you work in a healthcare facility, you may transmit influenza to patients and other workers, but you are not at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that everyone over the age of 6 months gets a flu vaccine if there are no contraindications. This includes individuals who are not at high risk.
When Should I See A Doctor
If you regularly have flu-like symptoms around the time of your period and itâs affecting your quality of life, check in with your OB/GYN, a doctor who specializes in womenâs health, or your primary care doctor. They may run some tests to rule out other medical issues that may be causing these symptoms.
If you have additional symptoms such as cough, runny nose, or sore throat, get tested for COVID-19 and the seasonal flu. Your doctor will tell you the best treatments for these. They are contagious and you will need to take steps to limit the spread.
If you use a tampon during your period, you may be at risk for a condition called toxic shock syndrome, especially if you leave them in for long periods of time. This is potentially a life-threatening illness. Itâs a bacterial infection that causes flu-like symptoms along with a fever that spikes over 102 F and a rash that looks like a sunburn or red dots on your skin. If you notice this, get help right away or head to the nearest hospital.
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How Is Flu Different From Covid
Flu and COVID-19 are caused by two different and very distinct viruses. However, they do cause similar symptoms. As we know, thanks to ZOE COVID Study app contributors, the most common COVID-19 symptoms include headache, runny nose,sneezing, sore throat, fever, and cough, which are all common flu symptoms. So how do we tell the difference?
Our research shows that loss of smell or loss of taste is still one of the most important predictors of testing positive for COVID-19, so itâs an important symptom to look out for.
Even if youâre vaccinated, you can still catch COVID-19. COVID symptoms can feel a lot like a cold or the flu – if youâre newly unwell we recommend you get a PCR test to rule COVID out. If youâre a ZOE COVID Study contributor and report any of the 20+ symptoms consistent with COVID-19, youâll be offered a test through the app.
If youâre feeling unwell for any reason – whether itâs a cold, flu or COVID-19 – itâs a good idea to stay home and avoid spreading your germs to others.
What Can I Do To Avoid Catching The Flu
The best way to protect yourself against the severe effects of flu is to get a flu vaccination.
In an attempt to mitigate the effects of flu this winter, the government have extended the free annual flu vaccination program to include more people than in previous years, including over 50s, children aged 2-16, pregnant women, people with underlying health problems, people in residential care, health and social care workers, and carers.
If you arenât eligible for a free flu vaccine, you may still be able to pay to receive one at your local pharmacy. The flu jab takes 10-14 days to become effective, so it is best to plan ahead and get your jab early, before the flu season starts.
To protect yourself from flu, you should also practice the basic public health measures we have relied upon in the fight against COVID. This means frequent hand washing, covering your mouth if you cough or sneeze, mask-wearing, maintaining a social distance and staying home if you are sick.
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When To Seek Care
For most people, the best thing you can do is to stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids. You will most likely recover from the flu in a few days and wont require a visit to your health care provider. At this time of year, hospitals and urgent care centers are overcrowded with sick people, so you are advised to contact your doctors office first unless you are severely ill.
If you are at higher risk for flu complications, the flu can be more severe. You are considered at high risk if you are 65 years and older, have chronic medical conditions , or you are pregnant. Young children are also considered high risk.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it is difficult to predict the number of flu-related deaths, it does report that “from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, annual flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.”
Please immediately contact your health care provider or go to the nearest Emergency Department if you have any of the following potentially life-threatening symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness, confusion
Body Aches And Chills: Take Them Seriously
It might start as a headache. Then, slowly but surely, your entire body starts to ache. And pretty soon, moving even a muscle can be painful. You may blame your achiness which commonly manifests in the legs, back or head on a recent workout or the yardwork you did over the weekend. However, body aches are another early sign that the flu might be headed your way in fact, those not-so-fun, all-over body aches are often an indication that your body is releasing inflammatory chemicals to help your white blood cells fight off infection. So, dont brush off these symptoms — give your body a much-needed break and take a warm bath to help soothe sore and uncomfortable muscles.
In addition to aches and pains, chills are another tell-tale sign that your body may be fighting off a virus. In fact, chills are often one of the first symptoms that people notice when theyre coming down with the flu. Thats because when the immune system first recognizes an invader that threatens the bodys equilibrium, it quickly jumps into action and produces heat through rapid muscle contraction and relaxation to try to fight the infection. These rapid muscle contractions result in the chills or shivers we know well. Many people believe that chills only occur when a fever is present, but thats not always the case. Most often, chills actually precede a fever and can even occur without one.
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Prescription Antiviral Drugs For Influenza
- Antiviral drugs are sometimes used to treat influenza. They must be started within 48 hours when the flu symptoms start. After 48 hours of fever, starting the drug is not helpful.
- The AAP recommends they be used for any patient with severe symptoms.
- The AAP recommends the drugs for most High-Risk children with underlying health problems. See that list.
- The AAP doesn’t recommend antiviral drugs for Low-Risk children with mild flu symptoms.
- Their benefits are limited. They usually reduce the time your child is sick by 1 to 1.5 days. They reduce the symptoms, but do not make them go away.
- Side effects: Vomiting in 10% of children on Tamiflu.
- Most healthy children with flu do not need an antiviral drug.
How To Treat Flu Symptoms
In most cases, the best things to do when you have the flu are:
- Rest at home.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid contact with other people.
Your doctor might give you prescription medications called antiviral drugs if youâre at higher risk of complications, such as if you:
- Are very sick or have other medical conditions
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Help For Flu Patients
If you want a flu vaccine, your provider at Prima Medicine can provide you with a flu vaccine to help keep you healthy. If you currently have symptoms of the flu, schedule an appointment.
Our team can get you the treatment you need to alleviate your symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. We offer same-day appointments at our urgent care clinics in Fairfax and South Riding.
To learn more about the flu and how you can treat it, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.
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When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider If You Have Influenza
Because of the importance of taking flu medicines within 48 hours of coming down with symptoms, call immediately if you think you have the flu. If you continue to feel unwell after you have been treated for the flu, you should call your doctors office. If you find yourself feeling better, and then getting sick again, you should also contact your doctor. The flu might have left you with some kind of secondary illness, like a sinus infection.
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Can The Flu Be Prevented
There’s no guaranteed way to avoid the flu. But getting the flu vaccine every year can help. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get it each year.
Most doctor’s offices, clinics, and drugstores offer the flu vaccine from September to mid-November. It’s best to get it before the end of October. But even if you don’t get it at the start of the flu season, it’s not too late to get one while the flu is still going around.
If your child is sick, has a fever, or is wheezing, talk to your doctor to see if you need to reschedule the flu vaccine.
What Causes Period Flu
Experts believe that changes in the levels of certain chemicals in your body during or before your period have a link to premenstrual symptoms.
Prostaglandins are molecules that act as chemical messengers in the body much like hormones. If youâre feeling feverish, it usually means your body is fighting off a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. Your immune system activates antibodies and other chemicals like prostaglandin to destroy the virus or bacteria. When this happens, your body temperature goes up.
Your body also produces prostaglandin in the lining of your uterus when you start your period. These molecules bind with receptors in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls your bodyâs temperature. This causes the low-grade fever.
Prostaglandins also cause strong muscle contractions in the uterus that lead to pain, discomfort, nausea, and diarrhea among some women. If the contractions are too strong that they may press up against surrounding blood vessels and cut off some of the oxygen supply. This leads to the cramping that you may feel.
Estrogen levels also dip or change rapidly around this time. This can cause fatigue, cramps, and mood swings.
Ovulation can also increase your core body temperature for a couple of days.
We need more research to completely understand all of the causes for these symptoms.
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Avian Flu Concerns Mount As Bc Farmer Loses 80% Of Chicken Flock In 4 Days Cases Identified Throughout Bc
A new strain of avian flu that’s sweeping across Canada and around the world is now in B.C. and a West Kootenay chicken farmer says it may have wiped out 80 per cent of her flock.
Peggy Ife farms near Burton, a tiny community in rural southeastern B.C., and says her flock of 70 chickens was down to a dozen after just four days.
“They were literally dropping dead,” she told Radio West host Sarah Penton.
She expects within the next two days, her entire flock will be gone.
Ife said some of her birds were lethargic and uninterested in food. After some research, she determined it was likely her birds had contracted avian flu.
“I know my girls really well because I spend a lot of time with them,” she said.
Her “girls” have been with her for several years one of the chickens she lost had made it to the ripe old age of 14.
“Some people think it’s kind of funny, but I call them my therapy. If I’m having a bad day or things haven’t been going right, I go down and I spend the day talking to the girls,” Ife said.
“They’re just kind of like my kids.”
She believes bird feeders, intended for wild birds in the area, spread the virus to her domestic chickens.
Environment Canada researcher Jennifer Provencher says avian flu is common, but this particular strain is more deadly than others. It’s spread through oral and fecal secretions.
Officials in other provinces are advising residents to stop filling their feeders and bird baths temporarily to reduce the spread of the virus.
Who Should You Get A Flu Vaccine And Which One Should You Choose
Flu typically spreads in the fall and winter. It usually starts to spread in October and peaks between December and February. That’s why this time is called the flu season.
It takes at least two weeks for your flu vaccine to start working, so try to get vaccinated by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated after October can still help protect you from the flu. Because older adults may lose immunity from a flu vaccine more quickly, try to avoid getting vaccinated too early .
Several flu vaccines are available. There are also two types of high-dose vaccinations specifically for people 65 years and older that create a stronger immune response after vaccination. Talk with your health care provider or pharmacist about which vaccine is best for you.
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What Symptoms To Look For
Early signs of cold, flu and Covid-19 tend to be similar, El-Sayed said. Both Covid-19 and the flu often cause symptoms such as fever, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, shortness of breath and vomiting or diarrhea, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Covid-19 infection can be distinguished, however, by the headache and dry cough that often go along with it. The loss of taste and smell that has been the biggest warning sign of a Covid-19 infection is still a possible symptom, though it is less prevalent now than it has been with other variants, El-Sayed said.
For people who are feeling serious chest pain, particularly with a dry cough that has gotten worse, thats when you really ought to seek medical attention, he warned.The most important factor to consider is exposure.If you are starting to feel any of these symptoms, its worth asking: Has anybody with whom Ive come into contact been infected with Covid? Its also worth isolating and taking a rapid test, he advised.Even if youre not feeling symptoms yet, it may be best to exercise caution if you have been around someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
I do think it is worth keeping a high suspicion that it could be Covid considering that we have the Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, El-Sayed added.