It’s that time of year when many of us find ourselves reaching for the tissue box. As we move into the colder months of the year, there’s an increase in colds and the flu.

Flu symptoms include runny nose, cough, body aches and pain, and fever. The flu is spread when someone who is sick coughs or sneezes and droplets spread into the air

You’re also at increased risk if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. A person with the flu is contagious 1 day before developing symptoms and for 5 to 7 days after becoming ill. Keep this in mind when visiting with or traveling with someone with flu symptoms.

The Center for Disease Control makes the following recommendations to avoid getting the flu:

Get a yearly flu shot… then:

  1. Avoid having close contact with someone who’s sick.
  2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or with an alcohol-based cleanser.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  4. Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects that can become easily contaminated.
  5. If you get the flu, stay home until you are free from fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications).

As a health advocate, I am sometimes asked if someone with the flu should go to the doctor, or when is it not “just the flu”? 

This depends on personal preference, although most healthcare professionals recommend that you should head to the doctor if you have:

  1. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  2. You feel pain or pressure in your abdomen.
  3. You’re vomiting often. 
  4. You are pregnant.
  5. You suffer from asthma.
  6. You have heart disease.
  7. Your symptoms get better, then come back and are worse. 
  8. You’re considered at high risk if you contract the flu. 

Especially when you consider the last reason, it’s important to get checkups and it’s better to be safe than sorry during this season.

Severino Health Advisors is here to answer any questions you have about heading to the doctor’s office.