By Bobbie Holz, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

As I spend a lot of time in and out of healthcare facilities and hospitals, I notice the flu is hitting the Pacific North West pretty hard. With flu season here I think it’s important to protect yourself from becoming ill.

The flu or influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by the influenza virus. The severity can range from mild to severe. Some serious consequences of the flu can result in hospitalization and even death. The two main types of influenza are type A & B which are routinely spread in people and are most responsible for the seasonal flu each year.

Those who are most susceptible to the flu are infants and young children, children with neurological conditions, pregnant women, people 65 and over, HIV/AID, cancer, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination.

Children 6 months and older are able to safely receive the flu shot which is very important to help protect children and those around them. Other ways to help prevent flu are to try to avoid contact with sick people. If you are sick, limit contact with others, use a tissue to cover your nose when you cough, wash your hands with soap and water often. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Symptoms of the flu are Fever, chills, sore throat, runny and/or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and/or diarrhea. If you do become sick with the flu, your doctor can prescribe anti-viral medications. Usually the doctor will tell you to stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, washing your hands, and avoiding contact with others for a total of 24 hours after symptoms stop

Help keep yourself and others safe by getting your flu vaccine, washing you hands often, and staying away from others with the flu if you do have the flu.