Flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza A or B viruses, that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. It can cause mild to severe illness and attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. Flu season can extend well into the spring months.
Symptoms of Flu
All types of flu can cause:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills – not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
- Coughing and/or sore throat.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults.
- Muscle aches.
Anyone can get the flu, and vaccination is the single best way to protect against influenza. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to family and friends. The single best way to protect against the flu virus is to get vaccinated each year. The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a small needle, usually in the arm. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The flu shot is approved by the FDA for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions. Immunization is the best protection against influenza and VNA of Care New England is here to help.
When you choose VNA of Care New England as your flu shot provider, you are choosing to support the ongoing provision of wellness activities in your community. Providing flu shots is just one example of how we serve and meet the community health needs. Whether through a public flu shot clinic or a private business flu clinic, we are here for you. Experienced and knowledgeable registered nurses administer all flu shots. And, no need to worry about their experience – in the past 30 years, they have asked Rhode Islanders to roll up their sleeves over 100,000 times!
If you suspect that you have the flu, talk to your physician as soon as possible about antiviral medications. If you have been diagnosed with flu, you should stay home, follow your doctor’s orders, and watch for signs that you need immediate medical attention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever (100°F or 37.8°C) is gone, except to get medical care or for other things you have to do and no one else can do for you.
- Avoid close contact with others, especially those who might easily get the flu, such as people age 65 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, young children, and infants.
- Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often, especially after using tissues or coughing/sneezing into your hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Drink clear fluids such as water, broth, sports drinks, or electrolyte beverages made for infants to prevent becoming dehydrated.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Get medical attention right away if you:
- Have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Experience pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
- Have sudden dizziness.
- Become confused.
- Have severe or persistent vomiting.
- Experience flu–like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.