7 Things to Know About Cold & Flu Season

facts about cold flu season woman wiping noseThe exact timing can vary, but cold and flu activity typically starts to increase in October and peaks sometime between December and February. Here’s what you need to know about flu shots and other ways to protect yourself this season.

Colds and flu are caused by viruses.

Both the common cold and the flu are the result of a viral infection. A cold usually starts with a sore throat, followed by a runny nose, congestion and a cough. Flu symptoms are similar, but can include a fever, headache, muscle soreness and fatigue.

Both diseases cause similar symptoms, but the flu can be deadly.

Unlike common cold viruses, the flu can infect the lungs and cause dangerous secondary infections such as pneumonia. In the U.S., approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die from complications of the flu every year. Even healthy people can die from flu complications.

Vaccination is the best defense against the flu.

Researchers develop a new flu shot vaccine every year to match circulating flu viruses. Getting an annual flu shot is the first and most important step to keep you and your family from contracting the flu. There is no vaccine for the common cold.

The FluMist® nasal vaccine is not recommended this season.

Due to concerns about the effectiveness of the FluMist® nasal vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that it not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season.

Good hygiene can help you stay healthy.

One of the best protections from acquiring a cold or flu virus is to wash your hands frequently. Around 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch. Covering coughs and sneezes with your sleeve instead of your hands also reduces the spread of illness.

You can take a test to determine if you have the flu.

An instant flu test can determine whether you have a cold or the flu so you can receive the appropriate treatment. Testing involves swabbing the throat or nasal passages, and may be complete in less than 15 minutes.

Antiviral drugs can lessen flu symptoms.

If given within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, antivirals can shorten the duration of illness and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization in those at higher risk. RediClinic offers Tamiflu®, one of three antiviral drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for flu treatment.

Get Flu Shots & Treatment at RediClinic, Seven Days a Week

Get your annual flu shot at RediClinic today! If you become ill, our board-certified clinicians can provide treatment to help you get healthy. RediClinic is a great alternative to a doctor’s office because appointments can be made online and are often available the same day. We are open seven days a week with extended weekday hours for your convenience.