WakeMed Blogs

Protect Yourself From the Flu!

January 12, 2018

Since October 1, 2017, WakeMed has had 360 positive flu tests, with 208 of those occurring within the last 10 days. (updated 1/11/18)

Currently, WakeMed is seeing more adults than kids being admitted with flu. That said, it is important to remember that the flu is contagious a full day before symptoms occur.

Often, rapid flu tests are done in urgent care, pharmacy clinics, and doctor’s offices. However, these flu tests are only about 70 percent sensitive.

What does this mean?

This means that your flu test will be negative when you actually have the flu about 30 percent of the time.

Read about the importance of flu vaccines.

Preventing the Flu

If you’re sick with the flu, STAY HOME! Prevent the flu or reduce your chances of contracting the flu by doing the following:

  1. Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.
  2. Keep the surfaces in your home clean.
  3. Get quality sleep.
  4. Eat quality, healthy food.
  5. Always keep your hands out of your face.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu activity can last as late as May! While the flu shot may protect you against the flu, it’s not always 100% effective. Barring the flu, there are also other types of colds and stomach bugs that could present flu-like symptoms, such as norovirus.

Common Flu Symptoms

If you or someone you know has the flu, they may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Muscle/Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Runny, or stuffy nose
  • Vomiting/diarrhea *(more common in children)

Is it a cold or the flu? Find out here.

aa-woman-blowing-nose-flu-influenza

Fast Flu Facts

The flu is a respiratory illness.

Also known as influenza, the flu is a type of contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Unlike the flu, norovirus is transmitted via the fecal-oral route.

Example: Someone with norovirus gets their fecal matter or vomit on their hands and then you either touch their hands, or you touch something that they touched when they had the germs on their hands, and you get those germs from your hands into your mouth.

It’s spread through droplets that land on people or surfaces.

The flu is most commonly spread through droplets when people with the flu sneeze, cough, or talk. The droplets from the infected person travels through the air and can land in the mouths or noses of others who are nearby. You can also catch the flu by touching a surface that has the flu virus on it and then touching your face.

You can infect others even if you’re not symptomatic yet.

According to the CDC, you can actually pass the flu onto others even if you’re not showing any signs or symptoms. Most healthy adults can infect others anywhere from 1 day before symptoms start, up to 7 days after becoming sick.

The flu can range from mild to serious.

While most people bounce back from the flu after a little while, it can be extremely serious for young children and those with weakened immune systems. In some cases, it may even result in death.

The best way to protect yourself is by getting vaccinated.

In recent years, getting a flu vaccine is not only suggested – in some cases, it is mandatory at workplaces. Check with your doctor to find out more about when you should get vaccinated and the type(s) of flu vaccines that are available.

Find a WakeMed Primary Care Office Near You

WakeMed Physician Practices features board-certified primary care, internal medicine and family medicine physicians conveniently located throughout the Triangle. Find a primary care office near you, and request an appointment today.


About Jessica Dixon

Jessica Dixon is an Infection Prevention Specialist for WakeMed Health & Hospitals. A former Criticial Care nurse, Jessica manages all Infection Prevention data, including internal reporting and public reporting of hospital-associated infection data. She is in charge of several special projects, including WakeMed’s Hand Hygiene Program and Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI) Reduction Program.

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