Last updated on March 9, 2019
By Katelyn Marshall
The flu season is in full swing and that means people need to be prepared.
“The flu is a type of influenza that impacts everyone around the country every year,” Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said. “There are multiple strands of the flu. So, what might get you sick this year may not be what gets you sick next year.”
Some symptoms of the flu, according to Pimentel, include headaches, fever, and will sometimes accompany nose congestion and a cough.
The flu is air-borne by droplets said Dr. Maria Benitez-Brauer, also known as “Dr. B,” who has 20 years of pediatric experience and is a pediatrician at Sumner Pediatrics in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
“It’s incredibly important that if you suspect that you are feeling sick, and the fever is a crucial part to this, that you need go to the doctor immediately because within the first day or so, they can give you a medicine that can help immediately impact the flu. If you wait a couple of days, they can’t give you that,” Pimentel said.
Some ways people can prevent themselves from getting the flu is, “getting the flu vaccine, and we start giving it in August and September and after a year of the vaccine, you need another one next year because the vaccine wings off,” Benitez-Brauer said.
“Of course, wash your hands. When you’re sick and have a fever, don’t go to school or work, until you do not have the flu after 24 hours, and covering your mouth when you cough.”
If the flu is left untreated, “you can have ear and lung infections, dehydration, and you can die from it,” Benítez-Brauer said.
However, while it is recommended to get the flu vaccine, “it’s not 100 percent fool-proof,” Pimentel said. Some people still get the flu despite being vaccinated. “It does help to keep you from getting sick or if you do get sick, it won’t be as bad.”
“Whatever is inside the flu vaccine depends on what the flu strain was the year before,” Benitez-Brauer said.
It is also important that children take action if they have the flu.
“If the parents know that their child is having a fever, of course, take Tylenol, and get lots of rest. Now if you need to go to the doctor, that’s the only time you would go out. When you’re having a fever, you’re spreading the germs, but you need to be seen by a doctor. Of course, you need to cover your face. So, get lots of fluids and lots of rest,” said Benitez-Brauer as recommendations for children who have the flu.