North Santa Rosa

How to Prevent the Flu this Year?

Preventing the Flu with Frank Francone, M.D., Occupational Medicine, Baptist Medical Group   Did you know that influenza (flu) activity can begin as early as October? Getting a flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu virus. In the United States, annual epidemics of the flu occur typically during the late fall through early spring. Q: What’s the difference between a cold and the flu? A: Both the cold and flu viruses enter the body through the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes. A cold is a much milder illness of the respiratory tract than the flu. A cold usually starts off with a sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough and only occasionally a slight fever. Symptoms can evolve over 4 to 5 days and usually last for about a week. In contrast to the common cold, the flu is more severe and symptoms come on much quicker. Symptoms include sore throat, fever of 100 to 102 degrees, headache, moderate to severe fatigue, body and muscle aches and pains, nasal congestion, cough, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. The fatigue and weakness can last up to 2 to 3 weeks! Not uncommonly, the flu can lead to sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia, especially in the elderly, the very young and those with underlying medical problems.   What’s new this flu season?

Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use this season.        Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.        There will be some new vaccines on the market this season.        The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed.

Q: Who should get vaccinated and how often? A: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. Six ways you can avoid the flu:

  1. Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

  1. Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

  1. Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

  1. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

  1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

  1. Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

For more information about Dr. Francone or to schedule an appointment, visit or call 850.208.6130. To view Dr. Francone’s profile: Flu vaccine and prevention information: CDC,

Posted by on Oct 2 2016. Filed under Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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