Many news outlets are reporting numerous hospitalizations related to patients testing positive for the influenza in Middle Tennessee. So what does this mean for us and how can we protect ourselves and our families?
Well, the flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The influenza virus usually enters a person’s body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. The flu is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes causing the virus to become airborne. Once airborne, the virus can be inhaled by those around and land on surfaces such as doorknobs and tables. When someone touches a contaminated surface, they may become infected by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth allowing the virus to enter their body.
Here are some FLU-SMART tips from the Infection Prevention Specialists at Lincoln Health System:
Influenza may be able to spread to others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. You can protect yourself and help reduce your risk. Here are some ways to prevent the flu:
- Get an annual Flu Shot
- Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub – many times throughout the day
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (Remember: Germs enter your body this way!)
- Avoid close contact with anyone who may be sick
If you become sick, please protect others by:
- Limiting contact with others
- Staying home unless you need medical attention or necessities until fever is resolved for 24 hours without fever reducing medication
- Covering your nose and moth when you sneeze
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (door knobs, keyboards, faucet handles)
How do I know if I have the flu?
Here is a list of symptoms: (please note this is not all inclusive)Coughing
- Body Aches
- Runny Nose/Congestion
- Diarrhea and Vomiting
These symptoms alone are not all that dangerous, but the flu weakens your immune system leaving you vulnerable to more serious complications such as:
- Sinus and Ear Infections
- Worsening of Other Pre-Existing Conditions (Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes, Asthma)
If you are concerned that you or someone you love may have the flu, don’t delay! Visit your primary care provider, urgent care center, or emergency room.
For more information on the Emergency Room at Lincoln Medical Center or to locate a healthcare provider, please visit our website at www.LincolnHealthSystem.com or call 931-438-1100