Flu has spiked to high levels, again, according to today’s report from DHMH flu tracker. After a decreasing rate the week prior, flu is back up to “High Intensity Levels” and “Widespread Geographic Activity”, according to the Friday March 17th report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Find out what you can do to prevent getting–or spreading–the flu and what to do if you have it.
Nationwide, the flu virus continues to remain extremely active and remains at high levels, particularly for this time of year. The CDC’s most recent report (below, right) shows our current season in red.
Learn about what you can do to prevent you and/or your family from getting the flu–and what to do if you do get the flu.
Fast Flu Facts:
DID YOU KNOW?
People are contagious from the day BEFORE symptoms start and for 5-10 days AFTER the illness starts (days after they feel better and return to work or school.)
- 200,000 people are hospitalized every year due to flu
- Between 3,000 to 49,000 people die every year from the flu
- 5-20% of the population gets the flu each year, on average
- The main flu virus this year IS covered by the flu vaccine
What are the symptoms of flu to look for?
Symptoms usually start very suddenly and often include:
- Fever of 100.4°F to 104°F, which can reach 106°F (41°C)
- Body aches and pain
- Pain when you move your eyes.
- Fatigue, a general feeling of sickness
- Loss of appetite.
- A dry cough, runny nose, and dry or sore throat.
Influenza usually does not cause symptoms in the stomach or intestines, such as vomiting and diarrhea. On the contrary, the “stomach flu” is usually associated with Norovirus or other similar virus. See previous article on Norovirus/stomach bug.
How long is it contagious?
To say it again: People with flu are contagious beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 10 days after becoming sick. Most people have returned to work once their fever is gone, around days 3 or 4, but remain contagious for up to a week more!
How is flu spread?
Most cough, cold and flu viruses are thought to be passed from person to person by contact with respiratory droplets.
Contact can occur by direct bodily contact (such as kissing) or touching something with virus on it (such as shaking hands with someone who has the flu) and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Best way to prevent the flu–or any contagious illness–is frequent hand washing!
Health officials encourage those still unvaccinated to get vaccinated immediately.
Call your doctor or go to an urgent care if:
- You have an extremely high fever (104 F or higher)
- You are finding it more difficult to get a good breath
- New symptoms localized to the ear, throat, chest or sinuses
- Symptoms don’t go away or become more severe
Be sure to be seen within 48 hours of the onset of your fever. This is important as treatment is only effective if started within 48 hours!
Call 911 if:
- Trouble breathing
- Severe headache or stiff neck associated with confusion or excessive drowsiness
If you or someone in your family has sudden onset of high fever, whole body aches, chills and feels generally awful, see your provider right away. A rapid Flu Test is available to get an answer in 10 minutes. Remember that the only anti-viral treatment, must be started within 2 days of symptom onset.
For more information, visit the Maryland Department of Health’s Flu Watch page or Anne Arundel Health Department of Health’s Flu Tips page.
If you have been experiencing fever, headache, dry cough or any of the above symptoms, please see your doctor immediately–remember that flu must be treated in the first 48 hours! Evolve Medical is always happy to see you as well. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at [email protected].
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