Believe it or not, summer is fading rapidly, the temperature is starting to drop, and flu season is almost upon us.
Here at Physicians Primary Medical Care in San Jose, California, we get common questions about the flu around this time every year. We have compiled a list of these frequently asked questions to serve as a resource for you heading into this next flu season.
Our team of expert providers stands ready to diagnose and treat the flu if you suspect you may be coming down with symptoms. Here’s what we want you to know about the flu this year:
What we commonly call “the flu” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus that infects your nose, throat, and lungs. Symptoms include a fever and chills, a cough, sore throat, runny nose, body and headaches, and fatigue. It can cause illnesses ranging from mild to severe and can even lead to death.
Influenza differs from a stomach bug, often called the flu, which causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Although the flu virus is present all year round, the number of patients with the virus increases during the fall and winter. The exact timing varies each year, but activity usually begins increasing in October before peaking anywhere from December to February. Significant activity can last as long as May.
Most people who get the flu only have a mild illness and don’t need any treatment. They should stay home while sick to avoid passing the illness to others. More severe cases may need antiviral drugs that can lessen your symptoms, shorten the time of your illness, and prevent complications, such as pneumonia.
The idea behind the flu vaccination is to prevent you from getting the flu each year. From 2019 to 2020, for example, the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses. In addition, if you get sick with the flu, the vaccine can reduce the severity and the risk of hospitalization.
No. This is a common misconception, but you can’t get the flu from the flu shot. The shot does contain a small amount of the influenza virus, but it is dead (inactivated) or made from a single protein strand that cannot infect you.
Now that you know what to look for, we hope you stay healthy this flu season. If you begin to experience symptoms, call one of our three offices or schedule an appointment online, and we’ll see you as soon as possible.