Your Flu Season Checklist

Some experts believe this year’s flu season may be more intense than in previous years. The Southern Hemisphere experiences winter from June to the end of August – so the United States can use their winter predict how hard the flu may hit during our winter.  

As the season for cold and flu approaches, here are a few helpful tips to help you take control of your health now or treat symptoms if you are already experiencing them.

Image of a doctor feeling a woman's neck to check for swelling

The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Colds are usually milder than the flu, and people with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

To avoid the spread of germs, make sure to wash your hands often and to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. A variety of over-the-counter cold remedies are available to treat your symptoms. However, if you want to treat your cold the natural way, WebMD recommends the following:

  • Blow your nose often
  • Stay rested
  • Gargle
  • Drink hot liquids
  • Take a steamy shower
  • Apply hot or cold packs around congested sinuses
  • Don’t fly unless necessary
  • Sleep with an extra pillow under your head

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, with even vomiting and diarrhea.

People at high risk for the flu include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following:

  • Getting an annual flu shot
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people
  • CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs

Please seek your doctor’s advice if your symptoms are severe.

By Blair Klayko