February is typically a peak month for flu activity. The flu is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which can lead to serious illness or even death.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend patients over 6 months old get the flu shot. While early vaccination is best, it isn’t too late to be vaccinated. Though flu season usually peaks in winter, flu activity can occur through May.
Most people who get the flu will recover within two weeks without medical attention. Some people are more likely to have flu complications that need medical care or hospitalization. Those at a higher risk for flu-related complications include:
Simple home care steps
The flu can affect you differently than a cold, coming on quickly and causing these symptoms:
To manage these symptoms and prevent spreading the flu, take these five easy steps:
When to seek medical attention
Those in the high-risk category should get care immediately if they experience flu symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to decrease the length or severity of flu symptoms and prevent complications. These drugs are most effective when started within two days of the onset of symptoms.
Take children to their physician or an urgent care center when they have these flu warning signs:
Adults should seek medical care if they have the warning signs above, plus:
These warning signs indicate that you should reach out to your primary care physician or seek prompt medical attention. UCLA also has several urgent care centers in the Los Angeles area.