Flu season is in full swing, with North Carolina Department of Public Health reporting an increasing number of cases. This season’s flu is hitting young adults especially hard- primarily those in the 25-50 age range, and with other health conditions.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
What can you do to help prevent the flu virus from spreading?
Get vaccinated! If you’re over the age of 6 months, you can get a flu vaccine
Wash your hands! Wash them often, especially when you are in contact with other people
Cover coughs and sneezes! A tissue or the inside of your elbow will do
Avoid crowds, especially where others are coughing and sneezing! If you are sick yourself, stay at home to prevent spreading your germs to others
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
Fever or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Fatigue (very tired)
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
Contact your healthcare professional for guidance on treatment if you feel like you have the flu.
Flu vaccines are widely available – at pharmacies and grocery stores, healthcare providers, and Cabarrus Health Alliance (call 704-920-1205 for an appointment).