Once the holidays are over, it’s time to focus on getting back to a new normal. Depending on your current role this could mean heading back to school or returning to work. With no major holidays on the horizon to interrupt the flow, now is a time for focus and getting down to work. The game plan for success feels indisputable until the influenza virus starts to make its rounds.

“Catching” the Flu

Similar to an unwelcome houseguest, influenza shows up when you least expect it and always at the most-inconvenient moments. Otherwise known as the flu, influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. Never content to invade just one area, influenza can affect the nose, throat and lungs, creating mild to serious effects in its unfortunate victims.

Combating a Virus

Some of the most frustrating things about the flu’s arrival are guessing how the virus will manifest itself, its duration and wondering who will feel its impact next. The virus is indiscriminant, spreading through coughing, talking or sneezing the nearly undetectable virus into the mouths and noses of other people. The virus also can spread through handshakes and hugs, kissing or sharing a drink or touching a contaminated surface.

Signs of the Flu

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or feverish chills
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and/or body aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat

Creating a Defense

Without proper care, the virus can quickly spread, temporarily wiping out whole families, classrooms and work departments. Isolating the spread of the disease often comes down to awareness. A healthy adult can potentially infect others a day before symptoms outwardly manifest and up to five days after being sick. Those with a weakened immune system have an even greater potential to carry the virus and the ability to infect others longer.

Self-Care and Treatment

If you suspect you or someone in your family may be suffering from the onset of flu symptoms, it’s important to take steps to minimize its effects and lessen the chance of passing unwanted germs onto friends, family, co-workers, etc. One easy way to do this is with a visit to your family care physician. The doctor can provide a diagnosis, enabling you can concentrate on what’s necessary to get well. Treatment will include rest and plenty of fluids to help fight the symptoms, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help lessen symptoms in the short-term.

Remember, one of the most reliable ways to avoid the flu virus is with an annual flu shot. The CDC also recommends practicing daily prevention steps such as regularly washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and isolating yourself from individuals manifesting symptoms of the virus.

To learn more about reliable family care physicians and pediatricians practicing at Summit Medical Center, visit our physician directory or call us at 307-232-6600.

Remember, you always have a choice in your healthcare. Summit Medical Center offers orthopedics; ear, nose and throat; pediatrics, gastrointestinal; primary care; general surgery, pulmonary; and plastic surgery to the Casper, Wyoming, area. With cost-competitive, high-quality medical care and superior patient service, Summit Medical Center is changing the delivery of healthcare in Casper and beyond.

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