Every year, especially during winter, people get sick from the flu, but there are ways to lower one’s chances of getting sick and speed the healing process.
“The seasonal flu is from a strain or strains of the influenza virus that causes a contagious respiratory illness infecting the nose, throat and lungs,” said Rachel Perkins-Garner, 56th Medical Group registered nurse. “Additionally, the flu can cause mild to severe illness, which can also at times lead to death.”
Perkins-Garner said most doctors agree that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets, which get dispersed into the air people breathe. These droplets can spread from a person sneezing, talking or coughing and can land in the mouths or noses of those nearby. There is also a risk of transmission when one touches or comes in contact with a surface or object that has the virus on it.
Once infected, the symptoms can be dreadful.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
If already infected with the flu, the ADHS suggests staying home, getting rest, drinking plenty of non-caffeinated fluids and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with fever and body aches.
There are ways, however, to relieve some of the flu symptoms.
“You can treat a stuffy nose with nasal washes as well as treat sore throats by gargling salt water or throat lozenges,” Perkins-Garner said. “Soups are also helpful in treating sore throats and clearing the nasal passages. Usually with time one can heal from the flu.”
Although some may still go to work after feeling the first symptoms of the flu, health care providers strongly advise against it.
“Don’t try to ‘tough it out’ and go to work,” Perkins-Garner said. “Do yourself and your co-workers a favor and stay home to rest and recover. It’s still not too late to receive flu vaccinations if needed. Luke members can come to the immunization clinic in Bldg. 1130 to get vaccinated.”
For more information on the flu and ways to prevent and treat it, visit the ADHS website at azdhs.gov.