the fluEvery year, anywhere from 5% – 20% of the U.S. population gets the flu. Around 200,000 people are hospitalized due to its complications, and another 36,000 die from it. Those are some shocking numbers!!

So what exactly is the flu?

The flu is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can cause complications leading to death.

Flu Symptoms often include some or all of the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing and/or sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Stomach ailments such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (this is more common in children than adults)

The flu is spread primarily with coughing, sneezing or talking close to others. It can also be spread if an individual touches a surface that was touched by an infected person, and then touches his or her own mouth, eyes or nose. People are typically contagious from 1 day before symptoms start to 7 days after symptoms appear.

So what do you do if you have the flu?

  • Stay home from work or school
  • Get lots of sleep
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take over-the-counter (OTC) medications appropriate for your symptoms
  • Seek medical attention if you are concerned

The best way to treat the flu is to avoid it all together. Prevention is the key to keep the flu away. Simple things such as getting a flu shot, keeping your distance from sick people or washing you hands immediately after interaction with them and maintaining a health immune system by eating health and exercising regularly are all things that can help you avoid getting the flu.

In the unfortunate event the flu turns into something more serious seek immediate medical attention. Now may be a good time to also review your insurance coverage to make sure you have insurance coverage if you are unable to work for an extended period of time.