When Does Flu Season Happen?
As the name implies, the flu season does not run year-round. Of course, you can catch the flu at any point in the year, but this is not the same as the real flu season. In the United States, flu season takes place in the fall as well as in the winter. According to information from the CDC, US flu activity reaches its peak starting in December and running through February. However, this peak of flu activity can extend much later, even as late in the year as May.
Care For Yourself as Well as Possible
This is a great way to prepare for the flu season. A balanced diet, exercise, and sufficient sleep are just a few things that help you stay healthy in the flu season. Making sure you are hydrated is another part of preparing for the flu season, too. Doing your best to relax every single day and getting the necessary vitamins is also a good way to avoid getting the flu.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
It is important to wash your hands in order to remain healthy. It does help prevent all sorts of sicknesses, such as the flu. Get your hands wet, lather, scrub vigorously for 20 seconds, then rinse off your hands and dry them. You can make sure you wash your hands for a full 20 seconds in many ways, including humming the "Happy Birthday" song.
Clean Off Surfaces
Another way to prepare for the flu season is to clean all surfaces. You should clean hard surfaces even more thoroughly since viruses and germs tend to thrive on such surfaces. Any healthcare worker will tell you how important this step is to ensure you stay healthy. You should also utilize products that contain approved disinfectants. You should note that the following are some approved disinfectants:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Get a Flu Shot
Getting a flu shot is one crucial way to prepare for the flu season. The flu shot helps protect you and others from the flu. The ideal time to get the flu vaccine is late September or October. It also specifically protects people at high risk of getting sick from the flu, such as the elderly and children.
There are many ways that you can prepare for the flu season. Getting the flu vaccine, cleaning surfaces, and regularly washing your hands are some things you can do to prepare for the flu season. A balanced diet and getting enough sleep also helps you stay healthy, including during the flu season. It is also important to understand that the flu changes every year, so the flu vaccine changes every year as a result.
Signs and Symptoms
Most people develop symptoms within 3-30 days after being bitten. Symptoms can range in type and severity. The most common symptom is a bullseye-like rash, known as erythema migrans. This appears in the majority of people with Lyme disease and the rash may expand or be warm to the touch (it should not be painful). Of course, the rash’s appearance can vary from person to person. If you notice a rash that has a bullseye-like appearance, it is always best to play it safe and to see your general doctor for an evaluation.
Other symptoms include:
- Joint and muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Stiff neck
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Drooping on one side of the face
- Severe swelling in the joints, often the knees
Don’t ignore any symptoms that are characteristic of Lyme disease. If you are concerned about your symptoms or about the likelihood of developing Lyme disease, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor about testing.
There are different kinds of headaches
There are several types of headaches that someone can deal with. Most people deal with tension headaches; however, other common headaches include:
- Hormonal headaches (these are headaches that women are more likely to get around their period)
- Cluster headaches
What does this mean? This simply means that primary headaches originate in the head while secondary headaches occur as a result of an underlying condition or something else that’s going on in the body.
Common primary triggers include:
- Certain foods
- Poor sleep
- An infection
- A medical condition
- Concussion or head injury
- Blood vessel tear or injury
Dealing with a headache every once in a while isn’t a big deal, but if you are dealing with headaches regularly then they could become chronic. A chronic migraine causes intense pain that lasts more than four hours and can affect either one or both sides of the head. You must have this problem checked out by a qualified medical professional to find out what’s going on.
Your current medication could be to blame
Some people don’t realize that if they take ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain medications a couple of times a week that their headaches could be rebound headaches. This can also happen once a person stops taking pain medication altogether. It’s important to talk with your general doctor if you are concerned about rebound headaches.
If you feel concerned or worried about your headaches, that’s enough of a reason to speak with a qualified doctor. Sometimes headaches are merely caused by lifestyle or certain habits, but sometimes something more serious may be at the root of the problem, and it’s important to find out so you can treat the underlying cause.
Worried about heatstroke? Here’s what to look for:
- Rising body temperature of over 104 F
- Skin that is dry instead of sweaty
- Shallow or fast breathing
- Racing heart
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion, irritability, or delirium
If you or a loved one ever experiences these symptoms, you must seek emergency medical attention or call 911 if you can’t get to your local ER. While waiting for help, make sure to strip off any additional clothing and stay in the shade. Keep the person cool by spraying them with water or applying ice packs.
Most causes of heatstroke are due to being exposed to hot temperatures for a prolonged period of time; however, older adults and those with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses are more at risk for heatstroke. If you exercise or work outside you are also more likely to develop heatstroke. This is particularly common in those who aren’t used to working in high temperatures.
Heatstroke can also occur if you are drinking alcohol, don’t drink enough water, or are wearing too many clothes, which can prevent you from sweating.
- Staying hydrated and drinking enough water
- Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (and reapplying every two hours)
- Wearing lightweight clothing
- Not sitting in a parked car
- Avoiding intense activities and exercise on very hot days
- Spending only short bursts of time in hot weather to properly acclimate your body
- Knowing if your medications could impact your ability to stay hydrated, which can increase your risk for heatstroke
Pools and water parks are particularly popular during the summer but can also easily become contaminated. Even though chlorine will kill germs, it doesn’t kill them right away, which means that even well-maintained pools, hot tubs, and water slides can still carry waterborne illnesses. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your family:
- If any member of your family has diarrhea, do not go swimming
- Make sure to shower both before and after swimming to remove germs (also wash bathing suits immediately)
- Do not swallow water
- Always ask the pool staff how often the chemical levels are checked
- If the water has a strong chlorine smell do not go in the water
- If there is foam around the pool do not go in
- Avoid water that is cloudy (if you can’t see the bottom of the pool don’t go in)
Instead of hitting the local water park or pool, your family may be heading to their beach or lake house for the summer. While many of the rules of the pool and water park apply to swimming in lakes and oceans (aka: not swallowing water; showering before and after swimming), here are some additional rules to follow to keep your family healthy and safe.
- Avoid swimming in any body of water after it’s rained because of the risk of contamination
- If there are blue-green algae in the water don’t go swimming
- If you see discharge pipes you also should avoid swimming in that area
- Don’t put your head underwater (particularly in freshwater)
- Avoid freshwater during hot days, particularly when the water level is low
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