Are you age 65 and older? If so, you are at greater risk of developing serious complications if you contract the flu virus. On average, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population comes down with the flu each year and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu related complications. The flu can cause serious illness and in some cases lead to death if gone untreated. Make sure you are taking the right precautions to protect yourself this flu season and know what signs to watch out for.
Did you know?
The flu could masquerade itself as other respiratory infections? Oftentimes, it’s difficult to know the difference. Many mistake influenza (seasonal or H1N1) for the common cold or other lower respiratory tract infections like Bronchitis. It’s important to know the difference and when to seek medical attention.
Symptoms of the flu include muscle aches, fever, chills, and a general discomfort. Pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening chronic conditions, such as asthma and emphysema, are telltale signs you may have the flu. Colds, on the other hand, target the nose and throat area. Symptoms typically subside with the use of over-the-counter cold medicines.
If you’re over the age of 65 and believe you have come down with the flu, you should see your doctor immediately. He or she may prescribe antiviral medications or in severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.
Unsure if what you have is a cold or in deed the flu? Check out the infographic below to help you determine the right course to take. Don't wait until hospitilization is your only option; early detection is key. Seeking the proper medical attention reduces your risk of developing pneumonia or further complications. Finally, always remember, the best protection against the flu is to get your annual flu shot.
View below or download the Cold or Flu: Signs and Symptoms Infographic.