Flu prevention tips provided

Maria Turinetti, IV Leader Staff

The flu has reared its ugly head once again this year and it means business.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has defined influenza as “a contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system—your nose, throat and lung.”

“Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue,” according to the CDC. “People may also experience vomiting and diarrhea in some cases of the flu.”

There are many preventative measures the public can take to limit their risk of getting the flu. Dean of Health Professions and Director of Nursing, Bonnie Campbell provided tips for those who want to avoid getting the flu during this winter season.

“I think we should all get the flu shot,” Campbell said. “I never used to feel that way, but the last couple of years I’ve been a convert because I believe now that it can be prevented by being proactive, in addition to taking care of yourself.”

By taking care of yourself, Campbell means that if you are in good general health, the flu vaccine should benefit you more so than if you have a chronic illness.

Some people who are considered healthy opt out of the flu vaccine simply because they are afraid of needles. Have no fear! If you are in good health and between the ages of 2 and 50 years of age, then you qualify for the flu mist. Flu vaccines are still available around this area at pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens and Walmart.

This flu season, many people are finding it difficult to determine whether they are coming down with the common cold or with the flu.
“If you truly, truly have a case of influenza, you are going to start off with different symptoms than a normal cold,” Nursing Laboratory Instructor Laura Hodgson said. “With a normal cold, you might get a little bit of body aches, a small fever (if that), and then you’ll start out with the respiratory symptoms.

“With influenza, it’s a quick onset of high fever. By high fever I mean temperatures of 101, 102, 103 degrees and the body aches are all over. So you start out with that after two or three days, then you graduate into the respiratory system.” The key factor is the high temperature.

A person is still contagious until “[they] have been without a fever for twenty-four hours: no fever with no meds. That means no fever reducing medication such as Advil or Tylenol,” stated Hodgson.

Campbell added, “Stay home if you think you are sick. And also wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.”

The health professions staff stressed that good hygiene is an extremely important component in flu prevention, and that everyone can be proactive to prevent an outbreak of the flu at IVCC.