Flu season has arrived and the sad fact is that no matter how hard you try, sometimes you just can't avoid getting the flu. Dr. Adam Naddelman, MD, FAAP, President, Princeton Nassau Pediatrics, P.A. has a few tips on how to elude the flu, spot the virus in it's early stages, and what to do when you think that you've been bitten by the bug.
- Flu vaccination
- Hand washing
- Hand sanitizer
- Avoid sick people
- Fever, usually 102º - 104º
- Body aches that can be severe
Once symptoms begin
People who are high risk (chronic illness like diabetes and asthma, elderly or kids under 2) should seek medical care quickly. If the flu is diagnosed within the first 48 hours, antiviral drugs can be prescribed in hopes of shortening and/or lessening the effects of the flu. A full list of who is considered to be high risk can be found at Flu.gov.
For those considered low risk, Dr. Naddelman believes the best treatment is supportive care, including plenty of fluids, antipyretics to reduce fever and body aches, and lots of rest.
Dr. Naddelman stresses the importance of being on the look out for secondary infections with the flu, particularly pneumonia. Signs of influenza leading to a secondary bacterial infection like pneumonia include a high spiking fever several days into the illness, increasing cough and lethargy, and decreased appetite and oral intake. These signs require immediate medical attention.
Once you've kicked the flu waiting 24 hours to reintroduce yourself to the public after your symptoms and fever have resolved is considered best practice.
Dr. Naddelman practices pediatrics, but his advice is transferrable to patients of all ages.