What is the flu and when is it most common?
The flu is a virus that is very common in the winter. There are different viruses that cause the flu, and so each year, a new flu vaccine. Flu symptoms most commonly include a fever higher than 100ºF, cough, body aches, and headaches. Some may also have a runny nose and a sore throat.
Should I get the flu vaccination?
The flu shot is totally safe. You should get the vaccine every year, preferably in October. If you are over 65, you should seek a high-dose flu shot which will give you more protection. Children may receive a nasal spray flu vaccination instead of a shot. The flu can be very dangerous for pregnant women, so be sure to get vaccinated.
What do I do if I think I have the flu?
In the first 48 hours of feeling flu symptoms, you should visit your doctor. After this time, flu medication will not work. Most overcome the flu after 2 weeks. To help with this, rest, drink lots of fluid, and, if you want to, take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Wash your hands frequently to help minimize the spread of your virus. Be sure never to give children aspirin − this can be very dangerous. Do not go to school or work until your fever has stopped for at least 24 hours.
Usually, the flu does not cause severe symptoms. It can be dangerous for the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who are immunocompromised. If you have severe vomiting, confusion, constant dizziness, or trouble breathing, be sure to contact your doctor.
Mica Esquenazi is a University of Rochester School of Medicine, Class of 2017 M.D. Candidate. Currently he is pursuing is medical studies at that university where he is also a member of the Latino Student Medical Association (LMSA). The LMSA is a national organization whose mission is to educate and advocate for the health needs of the Latino community. LMSA members, including himself, are looking forward to continuing to contribute to CNY Latino and raising awareness regarding the many health issues affecting the Latinos of Central NY and beyond.