Get the Facts. Fight the Flu.
FACT: Between 37 million and 43 million people suffered flu illnesses during the 2018-19 season.
FACT: There were up to 647,000 hospitalizations from the flu last year.
FACT: Between 36,000 and 62,000 people died from the flu.
FACT: The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
As part of Hattiesburg Clinic’s commitment to caring for the overall health of our patients, we offer and encourage vaccination against the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends yearly vaccination for people 6 months and older, especially those who are at a high risk of serious complications from the illness.
What is the Flu?
Influenza (also called flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and can even lead to death. Complications from the flu can include pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections and worsening chronic medical conditions, like congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.
Flu virus can be spread by tiny droplets when those who are infected cough, sneeze or talk. It can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of the flu typically start suddenly, not gradually. People with the flu often experience some or all of the following:
- Fever or chills (not everyone has fever with flu)
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Feeling very tired
- Vomiting or diarrhea (more common in young children)
You may begin experiencing symptoms between one and four days from the time you are exposed and infected with flu virus. You should see a doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
Who is at Risk?
While anyone can get the flu and experience issues from the virus, some people are at high risk of developing complications related to the flu
- Young children (especially 6 months through 4-years-old)
- Adults 50 years of age and older
- Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People with medical conditions, such as asthma, neurological disorders, lung disease, heart disease, weakened immune system, extreme obesity, etc.
Preventing the Flu
The first and most important way to fight the flu is to get vaccinated each year. While there may be some reduced vaccine effectiveness against some flu viruses, vaccination can still prevent some flu illnesses, medical visits and hospitalizations. The CDC says that even if someone gets sick after vaccination, their illness may be milder.
Flu vaccinations are usually available at your primary care provider’s office. As a convenience to our patients and the community, Hattiesburg Clinic offers a flu clinic Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Imaging department at our main clinic.
You can also take everyday preventative steps to stop the spread of germs.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- If sick, limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
- If you have flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except for medical care or other necessities.
- Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing (trash tissue when done).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated
Hattiesburg Clinic providers and staff offer the opportunity to discuss flu vaccination with patients and answer questions about vaccination. If would like to get vaccinated, please talk to your primary care provider or visit us at our flu clinic.
Treating the Flu
There are prescription medications for treating flu called “antiviral drugs.” When started within two days of showing symptoms, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick. They could also reduce the risk of complications.
Particularly for those who are at high risk of serious flu complications, early treatment with antiviral drugs can make a difference between the severity of flu illness and the risk of hospitalization. Your doctor can talk with you about whether this treatment option is right for you.
Don’t wait. Start fighting the flu now.
(Information on this page is provided by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)