December Regional Flu Update
As the holidays approach we find ourselves in the thick of flu season. We hope you and your family are staying healthy this flu season but if you do find yourself sick, PlushCare is here to help.
We provide online access to a network of board certified doctors who can diagnose your condition and prescribe any necessary medication, such as Tamiflu or antibiotics for bacterial infections. See a doctor from home this holiday season and get fast and convenient treatment.
See December Flu Activity In Your Region
As you can see above, flu activity can be seen across the nation. Areas that have widespread flu activity include the west coast, the southwest and many states in the south and northeast. The mid and northwest have also been experiencing flu activity, but with the exception of Nebraska, at a regional or local level.
Whether your state has been hit hard by the flu or not you should take preventative measures to ensure you and your family stay healthy this winter.
December is typically a month where we see increased flu activity and more reported cases of people seeking flu treatment. This increase in flu activity is expected to last through February and flu season typically ends around May.
The flu and common cold have some very similar symptoms. Both are often noted by coughing, a sore throat, congestion, and a runny nose. However, the flu does have some distinct signs and symptoms, which include:
Headaches and fatigue
Aching limbs, joints, and muscles
High temperature fevers
Shivers and cold sweats
How To Stay Healthy This Flu Season
There are many preventative measures you can take to try and stay healthy this winter.
Wash Your Hands Properly
Practice proper hygiene by frequently washing your hands, especially after going the bathroom, before eating, and before touching your face.
We’ve all been told hand washing is important since grade school, everyone remembers the posters showing how to wash your hands in the school bathroom or nurses office, yet studies show that only 3% of people actually wash their hands properly. And even that tiny 3% has been contested by other studies showing lower levels of proper hand washing.
We either aren’t using soap, aren’t washing for long enough (at least 20 seconds) or aren’t washing our hands frequently enough. Men are worse at washing their hands than women, with 50% not using soap and 15% not even bothering to wash at all compared to 78% of women who use soap and 7% of women who skip washing all together.
This is how germs spread, this is how the flu spreads and we’ve got to take the simple step of proper hand washing to help reduce the spread of the flu and other illnesses.
If you’re still not sure how or when to wash your hands, check out the CDC’s guide, here.
Get a Flu Shot
Flu shots have been shown time and again to reduce flu activity and are the best way to protect yourself against the flu.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone over 6 months. They are especially recommended for young children, pregnant women and those over the age of 65.
The flu shot does not cause the flu or autism. There is no evidence to support these claims.
It is important that as many people as possible get the flu shot to help prevent the spread of the flu. Even if you are a generally healthy individual and will be able to fight off the flu if infected, others are not as lucky.
By reducing the amount of people who have the flu we are able to control the spread of the illness and save vulnerable populations from infection and potentially life threatening flu associated complications.
Stay Home If You’re Sick
If you aren’t feeling well and think you have the flu or another illness take time off work and stay home to avoid putting others at risk.
By going in public and exposing other people to your germs you are helping the flu virus spread and infect more people. Not only is it better for your health to stay home and rest so your body can fight the infection, but it’s better for everyone else too.
We all know it can be stressful and a bummer to miss work, school and other commitments but if you’ve got the flu, your health and the health of those around you should come first.
Get Flu Treatment
If you or a family member gets the flu this season it’s important to meet with a doctor to receive an official diagnosis and treatment plan. Flu symptoms are similar to those of many other conditions and it’s possible you are suffering from another illness that may require medical attention.
A doctor will be able to determine what illness you have and give you an appropriate treatment plan.
If you don’t feel like going to the doctor’s office or your doctor is fully booked, you can make an online appointment with a PlushCare doctor to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan without leaving home. Learn more about how online appointments work, including pricing and insurance information, here.
CDC. Flu Shot. Accessed December 20, 2019 at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm
Mayo Clinic. Flu Shot. Accessed December 20, 2019 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/in-depth/flu-shots/art-20048000