Tag Archives: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Are You Sharing?

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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.”