Flu Peak Season Warning: Lung Association Urges Everyone to Protect Themselves and Help Stop the Spread of Influenza
Three ways to fight the flu now
(January 14, 2020) - DALLAS
For more information please contact:
Flu season in the Dallas area is ramping up with increasing numbers of cases reported. The American Lung Association reminds everyone that influenza (the flu) is a serious, contagious disease that can have severe health consequences, especially for people with chronic lung conditions, such as asthma and COPD. It’s not too late to take precautions to help protect yourself and those around you from the flu.
Each year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu – or 16 to 65 million people. Depending on the flu virus' severity during the influenza season, deaths as a result of flu complications (such as pneumonia) can range from 3,000 to more than 40,000 people nationwide.
"The flu is more than just 'a bad cold.' It's a serious respiratory illness, that's easily spread from person to person, usually when the person with the flu coughs or sneezes," said Holly Motteram, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Texas-Dallas.
"Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, weakness, aches and pains. Symptoms can range from mild to life threatening. If you have asthma or other lung diseases, you are at higher risk of developing complications from the flu."
Flu season peaks around January and February, but may not end until as late as May. The seasonal flu vaccine is effective for about six months, so it's recommended that you get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available.
Those at greater risk of developing influenza-related complications, such as pneumonia, include older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions, including asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart disease.
Here are three ways you can fight the flu:
1. Get vaccinated now (if you haven't already)
Influenza vaccine effectiveness can vary from year to year. However, vaccination is still one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you from the flu, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual influenza vaccination. Pneumonia can be a deadly complication related to the flu. Talk to your doctor about whether you should also consider getting vaccinated for pneumonia.
2. Get prompt medical attention if you develop flu symptoms
Flu symptoms often appear suddenly. People at higher risk of complications, such as those with chronic lung disease, should seek prompt medical attention. Treatment may include antiviral medicine which can reduce flu symptoms if started within a day or two of getting sick. Symptoms of influenza can include:
- High fever
- Headache, muscle aches and joint pain
- Cough (usually dry)
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion and runny nose
3. Help stop the spread of the flu
Help prevent other people from catching your flu. Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu. Stay home from work, school and public places when you are sick. The period when a person with the flu is contagious and can pass it on to others, varies depending on the age and health of the person. In general, most healthy people are contagious beginning one day before their own flu symptoms appear, and will remain contagious five to seven days after becoming sick.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
Sign up for the latest lung health news sent right to your inbox.
Join more than 500,000 people who receive research updates, inspiring stories, health information and more.