The prognosticating groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted an early spring this year, but here in North Texas we’ve had a cold snap following a warm one and now an uptick in flu cases. While flu season normally begins in October and peaks in February, it appears to be getting a late start in 2016 and could last until May.
You may have thought you dodged the bullet this year, but if you haven’t yet been vaccinated you may still be in for a rough ride.
You’ve probably heard that it takes about two weeks after your vaccination to fully develop resistance, and that’s true. But that’s no reason not to get one: Even if it hasn’t kicked in all the way, it can still lessen the severity of your symptoms.
Stop by your doctor’s office or local urgent care center today so you’ll be protected from this season’s virulent strains. The CDC has whipped up two different batches this year, and your health care provider will let you know which one is best for you and other family members.
Meanwhile, watch out for these symptoms.
While waiting for your immunity to develop, you may begin to notice colleagues or your kids’ school friends dropping like flies. You may even begin to feel a bit warm and woozy yourself. Here’s what to look for:
- Fever or feeling feverish with chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea
If you or your family members develop any of these symptoms, chances are all you’ll need to feel better soon is plenty of rest, fluids, and the correct dosages of acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen. If you’re not sure how severe your flu is, or if what you have is in fact the flu and not a cold, don’t hesitate to call your health care provider or even make a trip to the ER. Better safe than sorry, especially with an infant or small child.
How to know when to go … to the ER.
Here’s an easy way to tell if you should seek immediate treatment:
- Your baby under 3 months is running a forehead or rectal temp of 100.4°F
- Your child 3 months to 4 years is running a forehead or rectal temp of 102.2°F
- Your older child or an adult’s fever is above 102°F and not responding to medication; is consistently 103°F or higher; or lasts longer than 3 days.
- A person of any age is having trouble breathing; has severe stomach pain, ear pain or a stiff neck; or is exhibiting any additional unusual behaviors.
If you did mistake your flu for a cold or vice versa, don’t worry — it’s very easy to do. They basically have the same symptoms, right? The difference is that a cold usually starts out milder and worsens over a few days before getting better, whereas flu symptoms typically come on suddenly and are intense from the beginning.
To get your dose of super bug-fighting bugs, stop by one of these handy DFW locations with convenient web check in:
- 25 CareNow urgent care locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
- 6 Medical City Children’s Urgent Care locations in Allen, Dallas, Flower Mound, Frisco, McKinney, and Plano specializing in pediatric care.
For emergency treatment of flu symptoms, Medical City Healthcare has 17 emergency locations with FastERTX average wait times posted online. Visit FastERTX.com to find the Medical City Healthcare ER nearest you.
Watch Jonathan Gutierrez, MD, emergency medicine physician at Medical Center of Lewisville and Medical City Denton discuss the flu and when to head to the ER with flulike symptoms.