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Flu sickHello, it’s the nurse in me again, wanting to remind everyone that we have an epidemic on our hands with the flu. If you have symptoms of the flu then stay home because I don’t want it. I love to share but just not this nasty little bug. In case you have forgotten the symptoms of the flu, let me remind you. The flu virus is a respiratory illness and can cause many of the symptoms that everyone has experienced at one time or another: fever, body aches, coughing, congestion and fatigue. Most of the symptoms that are caused by the flu virus could also just as easily be the result of a cold virus infection, according to the CDC.

Some differences: the flu virus is more likely to cause fever — and a higher fever, at that. Flu sufferers have more severe symptoms overall and are more likely to face fatigue, body aches and a dry cough. Cold sufferers, by contrast, more commonly have a stuffed or runny nose and respiratory congestion. Some flu sufferers also have intestinal symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Despite concerns about the gravity of illness, the truth is that most flu cases are mild and do not require treatment or hospitalization. Flu, unlike cold, can in rare instances lead to serious conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis, and it can even lead to death in vulnerable populations. People with a higher than average risk for complications include children under five years, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems and senior citizens. Asthmatics, those with blood disorders, congestive heart failure and even those who are morbidly obese are also at greater risk, according to the CDC.

If you’re in one of the high-risk groups listed by the CDC (check here), it may be a good idea to check with a healthcare professional if you begin to experience flu-like symptoms.

“Reasons to visit the ER include severe dehydration, lethargy, confusion, or any other truly concerning symptom,” Stork says. “What seems like the flu is not always the flu and vice versa and sometimes a visit to the ER is needed to properly diagnose and treat.”

2 responses »

  1. This needed to be said! One guest, a dear friend, arrived at our house sick on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. By midnight on Christmas, she had infected three out of four immediate family members, plus my elderly mother-in-law, my brother, and my sister-in-law’s boyfriend.

    My friend was in a bind, because she had nowhere else to go, living across the mountains with the passes closed or dangerous due to snow. On Christmas, I just couldn’t tell her not to come out, but I did ask her not to touch anything. If it had been me, I would not have set foot outside the guest room, I would have taken meals privately, and I certainly would have covered my mouth, coughed into the crook of my elbow and not my hands, so as to prevent the spread of germs on serving utensils, etc.

    It is shocking how fast it spread, and we are still not completely recovered.

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  2. I’m so sorry you and your family got sick, but I’m glad you are in the process of recovering. People just don’t think about what they are doing when they go out sick. Since the flu is air-born it can remain in the air for quite sometime. I hope all get totally well soon. Shirley

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