It may feel like the school year has only just begun but fall, winter and the holidays are just around the corner. As the weather gets colder our bodies are not as effective at fighting off viruses such as the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19. People are indoors more and are in close contact more often and this promotes transmission from person to person.
The flu can be detected year-round, most flu viruses typically circulate during fall and winter which is known as the flu season. Most of the time the flu activity peaks between December and February. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, timing and duration of the flu activity has been less predictable.
The single best way to reduce the risk of seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated each year.
How is the flu spread?
Flu spreads mainly from droplets from the nose or throat that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.
Flu can spread from one person to another beginning about 1 day before symptoms start and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.
Symptoms of the flu can include a sudden onset of:
Fever (Temperature greater than 100.4) or feeling feverish/having chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Fatigue (feeling very tired)
Some children will have vomiting and diarrhea
People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
What to do if you think you are sick from the flu:
Stay home when you are sick- this helps prevent spreading your illness to others. Staff and students should stay home when sick. They should stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved.
When you are sick keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes,nose and mouth. Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose and mouth.
Practice othe good health habits which includes cleaning frequently touched surfaces, get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
What is the treatment for the flu:
Rest, fluids and over-the-counter medicines for fever and discomfort are the usual treatments. Call your healthcare provider and get help if fever doesn’t go away or symptoms are worsening and not getting better.
Prescription antiviral drugs are available and can reduce the severity of the flu. Please talk with your healthcare provider about taking antiviral medications because they need to be started as soon as possible with suspected or confirmed flu.
Aspirin should not be given to children with fever-causing illnesses because of the possibility of a complication called Reye’ syndrome.