By Roshiley Tilistyak, Nursing Coordinator
The cold and flu season is here again! We are feeling it as we see the rise of number of people in the community getting sick.
Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. Although the flu affects both sexes and all age groups, kids tend to get it more often than adults. To help reduce the spread of the flu let us observe the following preventive measures:
Wash hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
Do not share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils, and cover your nose and mouth with tissues when coughing and sneezing. If tissues are not available, coughs and sneezes can be covered with the elbow, arm or sleeve instead of hands. Make sure to dispose of the tissues in the bin and do not leave it lying on a surface such as your desk, chair, etc.
Avoid touching eyes, nose,or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, with people who are sick.
Children who are feeling sick should stay at home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone without using fever-reducing medication. By keeping children home when they have a fever, we reduce the number of new people who may get infected.
Anyone who develops respiratory symptoms, should wear a mask and and take rest at home and refrain from going to public places.
Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms are usually more severe than the typical sneezing and stuffiness of a cold. Symptoms of flu are, fever, sore throat, chills, runny nose, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches weakness, dizziness, ear pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea and fatigue.
Flu can be spread to others through direct contact and indirect contact such as touching the hands of an infected person (e.g., shaking hands, holding hands, hugging), touching an object contaminated with influenza virus (e.g. toys, furniture, doorknob, taps, computer keyboard etc.) or breathing in droplets that contain influenza virus that have been coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.
Influenza viruses can live several hours on hard surfaces.
A person may pass the virus a day before and up to 5 days after the symptoms develop or up to 7 days after symptom develop for children.
To prevent getting the flu yearly influenza vaccine is recommended for 6 months and older. Ask your doctor for more information.
Carefully disposed of (or clean) articles contaminated with nose and throat secretions of an infected person. Always wash your hands using good hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of infections.
Flu cases rarely require treatment but for severe flu or high risk cases such as chronic disease, asthma, diabetes, etc., an antiviral medication maybe prescribed
There are few at-home tips that will help most, otherwise healthy people can cope with the flu.
Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration, get plenty of sleep, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve fever and aches (do not give aspirin unless your doctor instructs you to do so) and you’re your body warm.