Flu season

By: Michael Olivares

Have you noticed all the people coughing and sneezing lately? You might want to think about going to your local pharmacy and getting a flu shot. That’s right it’s flu season, and the best way to stay immune is to overcome your fear of needles and get that shot. Plus they’re free, who doesn’t want free stuff, am I right?

What is the flu? Well the flu is a virus, called influenza, “flu” for short. The flu attacks the lungs, nose, and throat. Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems are at high risk. It can be transferred through liquids, air, or even physical contact like kissing, hugging, even handshaking. The best way to avoid getting the flu is to stay away from people coughing and wash your hands before eating or touching your eyes.

Common symptoms include

Pain areas: in the muscles

Coughing: can be dry or with phlegm

Whole bodychills, dehydration, fatigue, fever, flushing, loss of appetite, body ache, or sweating
Nasal: congestion, runny nose, or sneezing
Also common: chest discomfort, head congestion, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, sore throat, or swollen lymph nodes
Most pharmaceutical stores like CVS, Walgreen’s, or Target offer free flu shots starting around the beginning of fall. The CDC, Center for Disease Control, recommend that you get a flu shot, at the latest by end of October.
It might be free with pharmaceutical stores but if you prefer to see a doctor and you’re enrolled in a health insurance plan through a state-run marketplace or almost any private plan, your provider will cover the cost of the flu shot entirely, even if you go to your doctor for the shot. That’s right, no payments or insurance for your appointment, just protection from the flu—whether you’ve hit your yearly deductible yet or not.

Let’s say you already got the flu, what is the best way to treat it? Lots of fluids and rest. Maybe even some chicken noodle soup. The flu is treated primarily with rest and fluid to let the body fight the infection on its own. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers may help with symptoms. An annual vaccine can help prevent the flu and limit its complications.



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