Every year, the flu makes its awful rounds, affecting 5-20% of the population in the United States. Whether you’re in the full throes of the illness or you want to avoid the flu in the first place, Dr. Samuel Siegler II of Texas Family Practice Associates in Houston can help. From flu shots to alleviating the worst symptoms, Dr. Siegler works with you to lessen the flu’s impact on you and your family each year. To learn more, call or book an appointment online.
The flu, which is short for influenza, can make you feel like your entire body is under attack, but at its core, the flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. The flu is highly contagious, spread by the simple act of breathing when the respiratory excretions of someone who’s infected are inhaled or ingested by others.
While the flu makes most people feel miserable for a few days or weeks, the virus itself is not usually dangerous and typically runs its course without incident. If, however, your immune or respiratory systems are compromised in any way, the complications from the flu can be dangerous. The people at the most risk for these complications include:
If you or a loved one falls into one of these categories, it’s always a good idea to take extra precautions when it comes to the flu.
Often, the symptoms of a common cold and the flu feel very similar, but there are two main differences — flu symptoms appear more quickly and are often accompanied by a fever. If you have the flu, you’ll likely experience the following:
These symptoms vary in length and severity from person to person, but most people experience the worst of them for two to five days.
If you catch the flu early enough, within 48 hours, Dr. Siegler can prescribe antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, which shorten the duration of the illness. If you’re in a high-risk group for developing complications, he may also recommend antiviral medications as a matter of protection.
If, however, you’re relatively healthy and you don’t catch the beginning of the flu cycle, Dr. Siegler generally recommends:
Dr. Siegler recommends two very important ways that you can avoid the flu:
An annual flu shot, generally administered in the fall, goes a long way toward prevention. Dr. Siegler provides these at his office.
If you’re in public places, wash your hands frequently. And if you know anyone who has the flu, limit your contact with that person as much as possible.
To learn more about protecting yourself from the flu, call Texas Family Practice Associates or book an appointment online.