McFarland Clinic

What To Do About Flu

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September 29, 2010

 Every year around five to 20 percent of the American population gets influenza, an upper respiratory disease that is commonly referred to as flu, with more than 200,000 people having to be hospitalized from flu complications. Getting vaccinated is the best way to decrease the chance of catching the flu.

 
Types of Vaccine:
The flu vaccine comes in two forms, the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine.
 
The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine that contains a killed virus that is given by needle. It is approved for people six months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
 
The nasal-spray flu vaccine is made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. This form of vaccine is approved for healthy people ages two to 49 and who are not pregnant. However, if you care for someone with a severely weakened immune system, then you should receive the flu shot.
 
When to Get Vaccinated:
Flu vaccination should begin as soon as the vaccine is available in your area and should continue throughout flu season. Since the timing and duration of flu season varies, vaccinations could last until January and beyond.
 
Who Should Get Vaccinated:
Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. Certain people who are high risk or live with people who are high risk should get vaccinated every year.
People who should get vaccinated each year include:
  • Children six months old to 19 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People 50 years of age or older
  • People with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu including health care workers
 


Difference Between Cold and Flu Symptoms:

 

Symptom

Cold

Flu

Fever

Rare

100.4 F or higher for 3 to 4 days

Headache

Fairly uncommon

Prominent, sudden onset

General aches and pains

Slight

Usual, often severe

Fatigue or weakness

Mild

Moderate to severe

Extreme exhaustion

Never

Early and prominent

Stuffy nose

Common

Not common with the flu

Sneezing

Usual

Sometimes

Sore throat

Common

Sometimes

Chest discomfort, cough

Mild to moderate

Common, can become severe

Cough

Common, typically  productive (mucus producing)

A non-productive cough is usually present with flu (dry cough)

 

 Emergency Warning Signs: 

 
In children:
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash
 
In adults:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill. If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room.
 
If You Get Sick:
If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice.
 
The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
 
McFarland Clinic Options:
McFarland Clinic has received flu shot and nasal-spray flu vaccine. Please call your primary care provider to schedule an appointment to receive your flu vaccine.
 
 

 

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