A Healthier You
Feeling flu-ish? Fast action is fundamental
Dr. Lyle Berkowitz explains how patients can minimize the severity of the flu by quickly seeking medical intervention when symptoms emerge
(MDLIVE) – The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu each season.
If you’ve ever had the flu, you know that the flu is no fun. Common flu symptoms include a high fever, a dry cough, headaches, body aches and extreme exhaustion or fatigue. Other milder symptoms may include a sore throat, stuffy nose, and sneezing.
If you or a loved one are showing signs of the flu, it’s a good idea to seek a doctor’s care ASAP. Early treatment can minimize the severity of flu symptoms and the risk of complications, as well as shorten the duration of illness.While you could trek to a doctor’s office or ER, a smarter, more convenient option is to stay in the comfort of your home and have a visit with one of MDLIVE’s network of board-certified doctors. Rather than risk picking up more germs in a waiting room – or sharing your germs with others – a virtual consult gives you 24/7 access to a medical professional via phone or secure video using a phone, smartphone or PC. If the physician determines you need a prescription for an antiviral medication or other drug, an order can be electronically sent to your pharmacy in moments. Note that in most cases, these medications must be taken in the first 48 hours of feeling sick to be most effective.
Of course, if there appears to be something more dangerous or risky going on, our MDLIVE providers will direct you to the ER or an urgent care center instead. For example, patients should immediately seek in-person care if any of these apply:
- You are having severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, severe vomiting or confusion.
- You are a high-risk individual, including children under 5, adults over 65, pregnant women, and anyone with diabetes, asthma, COPD, heart disease, stroke, or anything that can affect the immune system, such as cancer or HIV infection.
- More info from the CDC is available here.
Additionally, high-risk individuals who have been in close contact with someone infected with the flu should also seek medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure (even if you have no symptoms). In many cases, quick use of antiviral medication can reduce the risk of contracting the flu or less en the duration/severity of illness if you do get it. And as above, a virtual visit provides a high-quality and convenient alternative to an in-office evaluation.
If you or a loved one is feeling flu-ish, don’t forget that fast action can expedite your return to good health!