GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's the time of year when the flu can hit home and with the season lasting several more months, you or a loved one could end up getting sick. That's why in today's 2 Your Well-Being, we're focusing on what to do when a family member catches the flu.
Kimberly Harris is a family nurse practitioner at Cone Health Primary Care at Elmsley Square in Greensboro. She says there are several symptoms people can watch for to identify the flu. That includes things like fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and upset stomach nausea and vomiting.
When it comes to prevention, the flu shot isn't the only way to stop the spread of the flu. Harris says the flu is spread by droplets which can occur with sneezing, talking, and coughing. Use a face mask to protect from germs in the air, make sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after you cough, sneeze, or wipe your nose. Make sure you are disinfecting surfaces sick individuals encounter. Finally, flu is most contagious 3 to 4 days after the symptoms first appear.
Be very careful to avoid spreading the flu to people most at risk for complications relating to it. That means children less than 2 years old, pregnant women, adults over 65, and anyone with serious health conditions. Symptoms that may indicate a need for medical help include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, seizures, dehydration, decreased urine output, severe weakness, persistent fever 104 F and over, non-responsive to Tylenol or ibuprofen, and worsening of chronic conditions.
Most people should completely recover from flu in a couple of weeks.