Fall brings with it not only brisk temperatures and stunning autumn foliage, but also the risk of catching influenza. Commonly referred to simply as the flu, it’s a contagious respiratory illness that at the least can put you out of commission for a few days, and at the worst can lead to hospitalization. However, if you know the most common symptoms and risk factors, you can reduce your chances of catching the virus or ensure you get through it without becoming severely ill. As always, the best prevention is receiving an annual flu vaccine, which protects against many strains of the illness. At Las Vegas Urgent Care, we can administer the care you need to prevent or treat the flu.

When You’re Most at Risk for the Flu
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season in North America typically lasts from October to March. Most cases are reported from December through February, with reports peaking in February. However, flu season can continue into early spring, with cases sometimes reported as late as the middle of May.

How the Flu is Transmitted
The flu spreads easily, and is commonly believed to be transmitted via droplets expelled when a person talks, sneezes or coughs. Even if you don’t have direct physical contact with an infected person, you could catch the flu by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed. In addition, people who are infected can spread the illness even when they don’t know they’re sick. They might not be as careful as someone who is visibly ill, and you might not be able to tell they’re sick, making it more difficult for you to protect yourself. The flu can spread as early as a day before symptoms are obvious and as late as one week after a person is infected.

Common Flu Symptoms
The flu can affect every part of your body and give you a generally “unwell” feeling. Typical symptoms include fever and/or chills, coughing, headaches, a runny nose and a sore throat. You might also experience aching in your body or muscles and feel exceptionally tired and run down. Some people also suffer from diarrhea and vomiting, symptoms which are more common in children than in adults.

Complications of the Flu
Many flu symptoms are difficult to deal with, but resolve themselves in a few days. This is especially true if you receive proper supportive care, such as drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. However, in some patients the virus can lead to complications that require additional treatment or can even lead to hospitalization. For example, the flu can exacerbate any preexisting complications such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. It can also cause secondary infections and other conditions such as ear infections, eye infections and bacterial pneumonia.

Don’t let the flu get you down this winter. If you need quick care in Las Vegas, turn to Las Vegas Urgent Care for prompt and effective treatment.

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