Have a high fever? You probably have more than a common cold.
The sneezing, coughing, sore throat and runny nose will likely seem familiar, but if you start experiencing a high fever (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit), chills and/or sweats and aching muscles, it may be the flu.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the flu — which is a viral infection — is to get an injectable flu vaccine. Though influenza tends to target young children and older adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccination, with rare exception.
A: Get a flu shot! Wash your hands often with soap and water. Do not share linens, eating utensils or dishes with those who are sick. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces often, especially if someone around you has been ill. Avoid touching your own mouth or nose if you haven't washed your hands first.
Q: When is the flu considered contagious?
A: It's possible for healthy adults to be contagious and infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and for up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may be able to infect others for longer than seven days. It is possible to "feel fine" but still spread the flu virus to others. If you or your child is sick, stay home until your doctor tells you it is safe to return to work or school.
Q: How quickly will a flu vaccine be effective?
A: It doesn't work right away. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body to protect against influenza. This is why it is best to get vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season is in full swing.
Talk to your primary care physician about getting seasonal flu vaccinations for you and everyone in your family who is older than six months of age. GBMC has primary care practices located throughout the Baltimore area. Learn more at www.mygbmcdoctor.com.