Flu 101 – Avoiding It and Treating It

Take a cue from infectious disease specialist and immunize against the flu.

By Jessica Thompson, pharmacist and infectious disease specialist at Renown Health

Flu101The best way to avoid influenza (flu) is to receive the annual flu vaccine. You can receive it well before any exposure to the flu, and it has proven to be very effective at preventing the flu for an entire season. However, be mindful that it does take about two weeks for the vaccine to become protective.

And while we’d like everyone to get a flu shot, we know that not everyone does.

If you do become exposed to the flu virus, generally you will start to experience symptoms within one to four days. If it has been less than 48 hours after an exposure, you are not having flu-like symptoms and you have not received the flu vaccine, then antiviral medications such as Tamiflu® may be an option to treat the illness.

Overuse of antiviral treatments may cause the flu virus to become resistant, making it ineffective. With that in mind, Tamiflu is generally recommended for people who are at high risk of complications from the flu — for example, young children, the elderly or those with other health issues such as lung disease. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to the flu, call your doctor’s office to discuss your treatment options.

We should all remember to wash our hands regularly and avoid contact with those that are sick, if possible. The best advice I can give this flu season? Get the flu shot.

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