The flu, also known as influenza, is a seasonal virus that manifests in cooler seasons. In the U.S., the flu season is considered to start in October and starts dissipating around May; however, the virus can be transmitted year-round.
The influenza virus can be transmitted in different ways and it’s most commonly spread by droplets made when people who are infected cough, sneeze, or talk. The spreading can also happen, although less often, when people touch surfaces infected with the virus and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes.
This virus is contagious and the people who have it are often more contagious during the first 3-4 days since the illness starts. Some other people, depending on their immune system and other factors, can infect others for a longer period.
At The Allergy and Asthma Center of Corpus Christi, we are aware that the flu can be a bigger problem for people with asthma so we brought you an overview of the flu and some preventive measures that you can take to avoid getting sick or, if you are sick, from spreading the virus.
Influenza can have mild or severe symptoms and, in some cases, it can lead to death. The flu has various symptoms and a person can experience some or all of them. These are some of the most common symptoms:
- Sore Throat
- Feeling Chills
- Muscle or Body Aches
- Runny Nose
* Not everyone with the flu is going to have a fever
** These are most common in children
Since influenza is such an ever-changing virus, it is often complicated to know what to take or which medicines are most effective against it. Staying at home, resting, and drinking plenty of fluids are the most common approaches to helping your body get rid of the sickness. If you are at risk of infections or complications due to asthma, you can contact Dr. Zhu at the Allergy and Asthma Center of Corpus Christi for more information or if you need to consult an expert.
Tips to Prevent the Flu
One of the best ways to prevent the flu is by getting the vaccine every year. There are other ways to help diminish the chances of getting the flu or spreading it in the case of having it for those who are comfortable with getting the vaccine.
Clean Your Hands
It is not necessary to clean your hands every four minutes unless you are a healthcare provider or work in an establishment that handles food and drinks. However, we need to make sure to clean our hands after we handle things or before eating. One way to stay on top of this matter is to have hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it when necessary.
It is not only good practice to cover your mouth and your nose when sneezing or coughing to avoid our infected, or possibly infected, droplets to be spread in the air. You can use a tissue or the inside of your elbow when curling your arm to sneeze or cough.
Avoid Close Contact
Avoid coming into contact with people who are sick or are showing any of the symptoms. The same goes for the case of you being infected — avoid others to avoid spreading the disease.
Crowded places that constantly have people moving in and out can be a breeding ground for viruses.
Stay at Home
In the case of having the virus, try not to go outside of your house. This way you can help the disease from spreading and cut the infection cycle.
Touching your eyes, mouth, and nose can be a way to infect yourself if you previously touched an infected person or surface. When you are outside in a mall, grocery store, restaurant, or any other place that often has people moving about, avoid bringing your hands close to your face.
The team at the Allergy and Asthma Center of Corpus Christi is here to help you with your allergies, asthma, and any complications that other external factors can have on these problems. We know that the flu can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract which can be detrimental to someone with asthma. If you are concerned about this or any other problems related to your asthma or allergies, please do not hesitate to contact us!