It?s flu season (again). It comes around every year, and every year so many Americans are not prepared. The truth is a flu shot can drastically reduce the chance that you will catch the virus. What many people don?t realize is that you don?t need to make an appointment with your primary care physician to get the flu vaccine. Emergency centers like urgent care offer fast and affordable shots, and under the Affordable Care Act, your health insurance is required to cover this type of preventative medicine.
Frequently Asked Questions About the 2016-2017 Flu Season
- When does the flu season start?
Each year, the flu season typically runs from fall to spring, though it does vary from year to year. For the most part, flu season lasts about eight to nine months. The 2016-2017 flu season has just begun.
- How can I tell the difference between the flu and the common cold?
Flu symptoms typically include general muscle pain, headaches, coughing, fatigue, and overall body discomfort. Symptoms come on suddenly with little warning. A cold, on the other hand, takes a few days to develop, so you can generally tell ahead of time that you are getting sick. Symptoms of the common cold do resemble symptoms of the flu, but won?t include a fever.
- What do I do if I get the flu?
The number one way to overcome the flu is to get plenty of rest. While you are resting, drink plenty of fluids, including water and orange juice, but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Some antiviral drugs like Relenza and Tamiflu have proven to reduce the duration of the flu if taken within the first few days. If your symptoms are especially bad, consider emergency centers like a walk-in urgent care clinic for further medical assistance.
- How will this year?s flu differ from last year?s?
Every year the flu virus mutates and can even change in the midst of flu season. That is what makes the flu so dangerous. Because the virus is always morphing, two or three different flu shots may become available to cover different strains.
To reduce your chances of contracting the flu, it is essential that you visit an urgent care or emergency care facility to get your flu shot every year.