Flu season is here: Doctor answers 3 commonly asked questions regarding illness

There were 380,000 flu-related hospitalizations in 2018-19, according to CDC

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As the flu season happens during the fall and winter, it’s time to take a look at how you can keep yourself healthy around the holidays.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall burden of flu for the 2018-19 season was an estimated 29 million flu illnesses.

Dr. James Gaspard, a primary care provider with Conviva Care Center, gave advice on how to avoid getting the flu, as well as common symptoms to look for.

1) What is the flu? How can someone catch the flu? And how many are affected around this time of year?

“As you know, flu is an aerosolized virus. It’s droplets in the air -- it’s things we touch,” said Gaspard. “So contaminated surfaces like tabletops and desks and things like that (is where you) can pick up the virus.”

Takeaway: The CDC states the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses and in the 2018-19 season there were 13 million flu-related medical visits, 380,000 flu-related hospitalizations, and 28,000 flu deaths.

2) What are some of the signs and symptoms people should be looking out for?

The flu includes symptoms like fever, headache, muscle or body aches, chills, fatigue (tiredness) and sore throat. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Takeaway: If you are experiencing cold-like symptoms and you aren’t sure if it’s a cold or the flu, consult with your doctor.

3) What preventative measures can people take to avoid catching the flu?

“Avoid being in contact with a person (who) has the flu,” Gaspard said. “Wash your hands and wear a mask. The most important thing that people can do every year around this time is getting a flu shot. They’re safe and effective.”

Takeaway: It’s recommended by medical professionals to get an annual flu shot.

Conviva Care Center is dedicated to being a health care provider for individuals at every stage of life after 65.

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