TIP OF THE MONTH
Sudden onset of the flu (influenza) can send your semester spiraling into chaos. This contagious virus attacks your respiratory system and can leave you bedridden for days longer than a cold would. Flu season is coming fast… are you prepared?
The flu season is unpredictable; its intensity, viral strains, timing, and impact vary from year to year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, estimates that most flu activity commonly peaks in January and February, but some activity can be seen as early as October and as late as May (CDC). There was over 160 million flu vaccines administered in the 2010-2011 flu season
Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. Precautions like frequent hand washing can greatly reduce the risk of spreading germs, because in the United States we see an average of 5 to 20 percent of the population develop the flu (Flu.gov). Other measures taken in prevention include getting rest, frequent exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet.
The flu and a cold carry many of the same symptoms; although a cold is a milder infection, the flu could leave your body and muscles aching (WebMD). A lasting fever is common in flu symptoms, reaching around 102 F; whereas mild fevers are sometimes seen in those with a cold. As well, headaches, exhaustion, fatigue, and chest discomfort are all ailments brought on by the flu, and less common in a cold; sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat are more common for a cold (WebMD). Typically, the flu can last for three to seven days, but the cough and fatigue can hang around for up to 10 days.
It is important to get the flu treated if symptoms arise. Complications spawning from the flu include pneumonia, ear or sinus infections, dehydration, and so on. When experiencing severe chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, severe headaches, confusion, or vomiting, you should seek immediate medical attention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Gable Health and Counseling Center encourage a yearly flu vaccine; call (610) 921-7532 or stop by with any questions or for further information. Vaccination can be your most effective study tool, this semester won’t slow down from the flu, but you could…
The above information is compiled from various sources, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flu.gov, and WebMD.
Nicole Kelly, 12
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