How to Avoid the Flu

Tamera Jackson by Tamera Jackson | Licensed since 2007
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This article was updated on: 08/28/2018

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What is the flu?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the flu is a contagious respiratory infection that can cause mild to severe illness and even death. Flu symptoms include body aches, chills, cough, and sore throat. You may mistake the flu for a common cold. However the flu can cause fever and headache while colds rarely cause fever and headaches, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Symptoms of the flu are usually worse than a cold and come on suddenly. The flu is more dangerous for certain demographics than for others. The majority of flu-related hospitalizations happen in those 65 and older. In addition, up at 85 percent of flu-related deaths happen in those 65 and older.

How to avoid the flu?

Flu season in the United States can last from early October through late May, or eight whole months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting a yearly flu vaccine is the most important step in avoiding the flu. While the flu vaccine is not 100% effective against the flu, the flu vaccine can protect against three or four strains of the flu virus with a single shot. According to the CDC if you get sick with the flu after getting the flu vaccine, your illness may be milder.

The CDC also recommends everyday actions to help prevent the spread of flu germs. This includes:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or as a second-best option, use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Try to avoid contact with sick people who might have the flu

If you get the flu, your doctor may prescribe antivirals to help treat the flu according to the CDC. The antivirals may shorten the time you are sick as well as help prevent flu complications.

What are flu complications?

The flu may result in complications according to the CDC. Flu complications include:

  • Pneumonia (in infection that inflames the air sacs in the lungs according to the Mayo Clinic)
  • Bronchitis (inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes that carry air to your lungs according to the Mayo Clinic)
  • Asthma attacks if you have asthma
  • Worsening of congestive heart failure

Do you want to know about Medicare coverage for flu prevention and flu complications?

I’m available to help you. You can schedule a phone call or request an email with premium information by clicking the appropriate button at the bottom of the page. To see some plans in your area you may be eligible for, please click the “Find Plans” button.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

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