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Preventing, Detecting and Treating the Flu

For some areas in the United States, now is traditionally the peak of the flu and cold season. So, Minneapolis/St. Paul-based Allina Hospitals & Clinics is reminding people that there are steps they can take to help protect themselves from catching — or spreading — the flu and other viruses.

Prevention Steps

  • Hand washing — the simplest, most effective way to avoid the flu and other viruses is to wash your hands, and keep them away from your nose, eyes and mouth. Because the flu can spread by your hands, you should wash your hands if you have the flu, to prevent infecting others.
  • Keep it to yourself — Don't share such personal items as towels, washcloths, silverware, cups, glasses, straws and razors.
  • Stay healthy — Healthy people are less likely to get sick. Maintain your resistance to infection with a good diet, ample rest and regular exercise.
  • Get a flu shot — Although the best time to get a flu shot is in the autumn, experts say it's never too late to get one.
  • Avoid exposure — Crowds of people may mean a lot of flu virus in the air. If you get the flu, stay home to avoid putting others at risk.

Symptoms

If you get sick, despite these precautions, the first flu symptoms are:

  • High fever;
  • Chills and sweats;
  • Muscle aches and headaches;
  • After its onset, you likely will suffer from a runny nose, cough, sore throat, watery eyes and eyes that are sensitive to light.

Treatment

  • Stay home and get a lot of rest;
  • Breath steamy air;
  • Stay hydrated — drink lots of fluids or eat broth soups; and
  • Take an over-the-counter medication to reduce fever.
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