Between weather fluctuations and the current strains of flu virus, this year’s flu season is trending toward being one of the worst in recent years. Additionally, there is worldwide concern over the coronavirus. CHHSM offers the following background information, as well as health and hygiene tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a service to CHHSM members and their patients and clients.

About Flu and Coronavirus:

Flu viruses usually come more suddenly than cold symptoms. They include fever, feeling feverish, the chills, and having a cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Less common are vomiting and diarrhea. Children are more likely to have vomiting and diarrhea than adults. Not everyone with the flu has a fever.

If you think you have the flu, stay home, rest, and avoid contact with others except to get medical care if needed, experts say. Avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever subsides to avoid spreading the flu.

Be on the lookout for emergency warning signs that you may be getting serious flu-related complications, the CDC says.

  • In children, these include: fast or troubled breathing; bluish skin color; severe crankiness; fever plus a rash; lack of interaction; not drinking fluids; and/or symptoms that improve then return with fever and a worse cough.
  • In adults, they include: breathing trouble; pain or pressure in the chest or belly; dizziness or confusion; severe or persistent vomiting; and/or symptoms that improve but then return with a fever and worsening cough.

Like some normal flu strains, common coronaviruses typically cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness, and those affected often exhibit cold-like symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus include headache, cough, fever, sore throat, and runny nose. Some cases of coronavirus can be more severe, and individuals can experience more serious lower-respiratory tract illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia.

What to do:

If you’re exhibiting flu symptoms that don’t abate or coronavirus symptoms, call your doctor. Your doctor may order a lab test to detect coronavirus or other virus strains. Be sure to disclose any recent travel to your doctor.

Health and Hygiene Tips:

Here are some health and hygiene tips to avoid getting sick and to avoid making others ill from  any of the current bugs going around, including common flu strains and the coronavirus:

  • Stay home if you are feeling sick. You don’t want to cough and sneeze and spread germs around your workplace or in common areas like restaurants, gyms, and shopping areas.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.  
  • Disinfect surfaces used regularly. Clean your phone, keyboard, desktop, door knob regularly to avoid the spread of germs. Antibacterial wipes should be easily accessible in work and home spaces.
  • Use hand sanitizer often, especially when soap and water is unavailable.
  • Avoid close contact with someone who is sick. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

As CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield says, the “real threat to the American public is flu, “so wash your hands, cough into your sleeve, don’t touch your face, and “if you have not gotten the flu vaccine, get the flu vaccine.”

The CDC has a helpful page of tips for individuals who have flu symptoms.

The CDC also has released this short, informative video about the coronavirus.