Written by Nicole Baldwin FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner
As we approach the winter season, the cold and flu bugs are in full effect. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding typical colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses.
Cold and flu share symptoms but colds are usually milder. If you have fever, body aches, or a dry cough, it is more likely to be the flu. Flu symptoms begin quickly. Symptoms usually start and progress within eight hours. Make sure to get at least eight hours of rest and take medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen for body aches and fever. Fevers spike quickly with the flu. Do not try to “sweat it out” as high temperatures may be dangerous. Drinking fluids helps to thin mucus due to congestion with a cold or the flu. Herbal drinks like peppermint tea, chamomile tea, or lemon and honey in warm water may help soothe coughs and sore throat.
It is recommended for all children older than six months and for adults to get vaccinated yearly against the flu. The recommendations for the pneumonia vaccine are for children younger than five years old and all adults sixty-five and older. There are also special circumstances for adults at risk for pneumonia to get vaccinated. Please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus for the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
Flu may be contagious up to seven days even spread by someone who has mild symptoms. Mild symptoms in one person may spread to be more severe in others. Since a respiratory infection, cold, or flu may be spread for up to two weeks, handwashing and sanitizing areas are very important. Reduce the spread of germs and bacteria by using an antibacterial soap and cleaner, washing hands regularly, and wearing a mask to prevent the spread of droplets.
Be healthy and stay well!