Be Protected From the Flu
This year’s flu season has hit early and hard, with several deaths already reported in the Mid-South. Methodist is committed to helping the community prevent and treat cases of the flu. Remember, your best defense against the flu is to get vaccinated. Wash your hands frequently, and if you are sick, cover your coughs and cough into your sleeve, rather than your hand.
- What is seasonal flu?
- Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It spreads between people and can cause mild to severe illness.
- What can I do to protect myself?
- The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. Proper hand hygiene and good cough etiquette are also critical. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently. Cover all coughs and cough into your sleeve.
- How can I treat flu symptoms at home?
- If you suspect you have the flu, call your physician. There are anti-viral medications that can be prescribed by your doctor, but these medications are most effective when given early in the course of illness. Drink fluids and get plenty of rest. Acetaminophen helps with aches, pains and fever reduction. To protect others, stay home for 24 hours after the fever goes away.
- Is it too late to get the flu vaccine?
- No. The shot can protect you to some effect as early as seven days after the vaccine, although full protection takes two to three weeks. Thus, a flu shot now can protect during this outbreak.
- Should I receive the shot (injection) form or the nasal spray form of the flu vaccine?
- In general, healthy children and adults ages 2-49 years old may receive either the injection or the aerosolized (nasal spray) version of the vaccine. Children of ages 6 months to 2 years and adults 50 years or older should receive the injectable vaccine, as should children and adults with underlying medical conditions.
- When should I seek emergency medical treatment?
- Uncomplicated flu (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, generally feeling sick) can and should be diagnosed by your doctor, rather than the Emergency Room. The Emergency Room can help deal with complications of the flu, including severe dehydration and infections of the brain or lungs. Pneumonia, when the disease moves to the lungs, can either be viral or result from bacteria complicating the flu infection.
- How much longer could this flu outbreak continue?
- It varies from year to year. Six to eight weeks would be typical, and of course a second wave from a different strain could occur later or even overlap this outbreak.