Articles, Blog

Are You Fluent in Flu?

October 22, 2019


– It’s flu season again. Yep, that’s right, it’s
the time of the year that you dodge every
sneeze, cough, and sniffle. But do you really have to be a hermit to avoid catching the flu? Get a flu shot, you say. Why, I got one last year. Doesn’t it last longer than a year? Why does the same cold come
back to bite everyone each year? And how can I decrease my
chances of catching it? I wanted to know the
answers to these questions, so I went to my friendly
neighborhood flu experts at HCA Midwest Health to become a bit more fluent in the flu. Influenza, or the flu, is a
contagious viral infection that attacks the lungs, nose, and throat. Most people who catch the flu will likely have common symptoms
like body aches and chills, high fever, headache, and fatigue, but keep in mind, symptoms and severity can vary from person to person. Flu fact time-out. Did you know that the stomach flu is often confused for influenza? But they’re not the same thing. In fact, a totally different type of virus causes gastroenteritis,
what people commonly call the stomach flu. Influenza is a respiratory illness, but gastroenteritis affects
the digestive system and is often characterized
by vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. And while the flu vaccine will
protect against influenza, it will not guard against the stomach flu. (upbeat music) The flu shot tells your
body to start preparing by making antibodies to fight the particular strain of the flu the CDC is expecting
to go around this year. But why get one every year? Well there are many
strains of the flu virus, and they mutate constantly. In fact, three to four
different strains of the virus are identified before the vaccine is even developed each year. This is why the CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get their flu shot each and every season. Think of it like this. Say you’re going for a bike ride. Although you’re a confident rider, you wanna be safe, so you
choose to wear a helmet. Think of the helmet like a flu vaccine. It will help keep you safe in the event something unexpected happens while out on a ride because some things are
out of your control. So while you might not need your helmet, it’s important to have it in case you do. Besides the flu shot, what are some other ways to
protect yourself from the flu? Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands frequently
with soap and water or use an alcohol-based
hand rub as an alternative if soap and water aren’t available. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched by
people that might be sick because the flu can survive
between two and eight hours. Think of places like
doorknobs and keyboards. Having a good exercise routine
boosts your immune system, so it can prevent colds and the flu. And it never hurts to keep your distance from people you know are sick. (man sneezes) Whoa, did you know the flu virus can travel
up to six feet, yikes! Now that you have a
little more flu knowledge, you can ride into the
flu season confidently. Don’t know where to get a shot? The primary care physicians at HCA Midwest Health practices and CareNow urgent care centers can administer flu shots
for you and your family. To find a doctor or CareNow
urgent care centre near you, just go to hcamidwest.com/flu. If severe symptoms arise, don’t hesitate to head to
one of HCA Midwest Health’s 11 ERs conveniently located
throughout the Kansas City area. Visit hcamidwest.com for ER locations and average wait times.

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