You know flu season is close when the mornings and evenings are cool but the afternoons can still be very warm. This means that we start spending more time indoors. Friends gather, kids go to school and germs start getting transferred from one body to another. Flu season generally lasts from November to April.
We transfer germs by shaking hands, coughing, sneezing, opening the fridge, turning on taps, touching doorknobs, sharing keyboards, phones and just being near each other.
Seasonal flu or influenza affects the nose, throat and lungs. It is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Flu strains change from year to year and that’s why it is important to get an annual flu shot. Get it early because the shot takes two weeks to kick in and protect you. This protection lasts for roughly six months. The flu viruses can change rapidly and that’s why you need a shot every year.
The great debate on the pros and cons of the flu shot start to appear in mainstream and social media every year at about this time. The flu shot is never perfect protection but it is the best thing we’ve got at the moment. You will protect yourself and others by getting it. The flu is particularly debilitating to the very young, the old, those with chronic conditions and those with compromised immune systems.
You can do a few simple things around your home to protect yourself. Wash your hands frequently and use a hand sanitizer whenever you see one in public places. Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand. Keep your hands away from your face as the flu will enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. Keep common surfaces in your home disinfected. Bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours.
The flu can really knock you out with the sudden onset of fever and cough. You’ll likely experience headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, sore throat and runny nose. Nausea and diarrhea often accompany these symptoms.
People often think they have the flu when a cold lingers. A cold is a mild infection and will not be accompanied by a fever or any of the more severe symptoms of the flu. If you’ve got a cold, come on in and talk to us about our over-the counter medications. We have several on sale right now, so stock up and be prepared.
Heart Pharmacy will have the flu vaccine available for you during the latter part of October. You can get the shot at any one of our five locations. If you have any questions about the vaccine give us a call, we’d be happy to discuss your concerns with you.