What is influenza?
Influenza, or ‘the flu’, is a viral respiratory illness that infects your nose, throat, and sometimes lungs. It is a common misconception that the flu causes vomiting and diarrhea. While these symptoms are sometimes present, especially with influenza in children, they are not common influenza symptoms. What is commonly called the “stomach flu” is the syndrome of nausea, vomiting, belly cramping and diarrhea that is associated with a group of viruses other than influneza.
The primary symptoms of influenza are:
- Fever and chills
- Body Aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Most cases of influenza occur seasonally, between October and May. However, it is possible to contract influenza any time during the year.
How does influenza spread?
The influenza virus is mainly spread by droplets dispersed when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can also spread when someone gets flu virus on their hands and touches their mouth or nose.
How can you treat influenza at home?
- Rest, to give your body the best chance to fight the virus
- Drink plenty of water (Aim for urine/pee that is clear to light yellow!)
- Take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) to treat fever and/or body aches
- Take over-the-counter cold medications to help with cough and congestion
- Wash your hands to prevent others from getting the illness
When should you seek medical care for influenza symptoms?
If you experience any of the following, seek immediate medical care:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Severe pain and/or weakness
- Severe dizziness
How can you avoid getting influenza?
As with other viruses, frequent hand washing and avoiding contact with sick people can prevent you from getting sick. The single most important way to prevent the flu is to get your annual flu shot. The influenza virus changes all the time, so it is important to get your flu vaccine every year. Pivotal Health can make this very easy, as one of our clinicians can come directly to your home to give the flu shot at your convenience.
How can Pivotal Health help if you think you have the flu?
A Pivotal Health clinician can come to your home, on your schedule, and perform a rapid influenza test. You will know in minutes if you have the flu! If we see you early enough, we can prescribe antiviral medications to help you get over the flu quicker. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment if you believe you have influenza, the sooner you are evaluated the quicker you may feel better. The Pivotal Health clinician will also do a thorough examination to ensure you don’t have complications such as ear infection, pneumonia, or a flare up of asthma/COPD. If necessary, a clinician can even take a chest x-ray right in your home.
All Pivotal Health clinician visits, including those to diagnose and treat influenza, include follow-up consultation to ensure you’re on the road to recovery.