Regional Flu Update
Summer has come and gone and once again we find ourselves approaching the winter months. Whether you love the cold or hate it, winter is coming and unfortunately that means flu season is coming too.
According the CDC, over the past 36 years, 15 of them saw February with the most reported cases of the flu, making it the most likely peak of flu season. Of these 36 years December was reported as the peak of flu season for 7 years, while January and March each peaked for 6 years.
That said, cases of the flu are reported year round and start to pick up as early as October and can last through May. If you’re feeling sick it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Check October Flu Activity in Your Region
With the flu season just getting underway, October flu activity is light and sporadic across most of the U.S.
Certain states on the West Coast, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are currently experiencing increased activity.
Whether or not your area is experiencing flu activity yet, health professionals recommend a few easy steps to prevent the spread of the flu:
Get your flu shot. Despite the myths, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu!
Wash your hands. After the flu vaccine, hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of the flu.
Stay home if you’re sick! The CDC recommends you stay home if you’re sick and if you need to speak with a doctor, do so via video call.
Flu vs Common Cold
During fall and winter months we not only see increased flu activity but also more cases of the common cold and other similar respiratory viruses. While some of the symptoms of the cold and flu are interchangeable there are a few tells that you can use to differentiate between the two.
The symptoms of a common cold are generally felt in the nose, throat and lungs with congestion, a sore throat and coughing. While uncomfortable and disruptive a cold is different from the flu.
The flu may have the same symptoms as the common cold in addition to a fever over 100.4° F, body aches and chills, and general feelings of malaise that is often noticeably worse than the common cold.
The flu is also known to come on fast. Many patients are able to recall the moment they started feeling ill while the common cold can creep up more gradually.
It’s important to know the difference between the cold and flu so that you can seek proper treatment. There are treatments available for the flu to fight off the virus and aid symptom management.
Tamiflu is a common prescription given to those with the flu. When taken within 72 hours of symptom onset it has been shown to reduce symptoms up to 24 hours sooner than those who are not taking it.
Tamiflu can also be prescribed to those who have been exposed to the flu virus but aren’t experiencing symptoms, as a preventative. This is recommended for those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women and babies.
PlushCare offers patients online access to board certified doctors that can diagnose and prescribe flu treatment. Our doctors can also help you with a sore throat, sinus infection, bacterial infection, cough, refills and more, all from the comfort of home.
If you or a loved one gets sick this flu season, book an online appointment and get treated right away.
Read More About The Flu
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Season. Accessed November 1, 2019, at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm