CHAS Health recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to lower the risk of getting the flu and limit flu exposure to others.
Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. People of all ages can catch the flu, and now more than ever, no one wants to expose others to illness-causing germs.
COVID-19 & Influenza
Influenza kills and hospitalizes thousands of adults and children every year. COVID-19 can also be deadly and there is no vaccine available at this time. Both viruses are respiratory pathogens. It is possible to be infected with both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, a situation to be avoided for everyone, not just the elderly or those with chronic diseases. If you have questions about whether or not you or your child should stay home due to any illness, please discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Telling the Difference Between a Cold & the Flu
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, but there are some symptom differences:
Often the flu includes a fever while a cold does not. A fever is the body’s way of fighting infection. Fever is the most common reason adults stay home from work and why most parents keep their children home from school. The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 or higher, however, some schools and daycare centers have their own standards. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from work or school until the fever is gone and the ill person’s temperature has returned to 98.6 degrees.
Adults and children may contract several different cold viruses each winter. Typical cold symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, and cough. Most people with these symptoms can participate in school without restrictions. Coughs may linger for several weeks after the other symptoms have resolved. It is important to remember the importance of coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue and to practice proper handwashing techniques to limit the spread of germs.
The flu is similar to a cold but is accompanied by high fevers and body aches. It can also include extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms that diminish the body’s ability to function normally. If an adult or child has the flu, they should stay home until their symptoms have disappeared.
Vomiting & Diarrhea
When the flu brings vomiting and diarrhea, both adults and children should stay home until these symptoms have resolved. Adults and older children with only mild diarrhea (who are able to use the toilet and wash their hands on their own), may go to work and school if they don’t have other symptoms.
Illnesses are a normal part of life for both adults and children, but they are no fun to experience. We can’t keep ourselves or our children home for every sniffle and sneeze, yet we want to minimize the spread of germs to others. That’s why getting an annual flu shot is so very important.