Fight the Flu
Keep your guard up this flu season. Banner Health offers information about symptoms, prevention and treatment to keep everyone safe from the flu.
The 2013-2014 flu season:
Flu activity is now widespread in Arizona, the highest category possible. As flu activity has continued to increase across the state over the past few weeks, visits to doctors’ offices and hospitals have dramatically increased. The predominant strain of flu circulating this season is Influenza A/H1N1, the same virus that caused the 2009 pandemic.
Banner Health offers the following flu preparedness advice:
Understand flu symptoms. Symptoms for seasonal and H1N1 flu are similar and can come on quickly. They can include:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
Understand when to seek medical care. For most people, the best care is to stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Most recover from the flu in a few days and don’t require a visit to their health care provider. At this time of year, hospitals and urgent care centers are overcrowded with sick people, so you are advised to contact your doctor’s office first unless you are severely ill. For some people, especially those at higher risk, the flu can be more severe. Those who could be at higher risk of developing flu-related complications if they get sick include people 65 years and older, people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), pregnant women and young children. Influenza can be fatal. In 2009, the H1N1 caused severe illness and even death in those less than 65 years of age and without underlying health conditions.
If you have any of the following potentially life-threatening symptoms when battling the flu, seek care immediately from your health care provider or the nearest Emergency department:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness, confusion
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu symptoms that initially improve, but then return with cough and fever.
- Infants should be taken to an Emergency department if they have bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritability.
Protect yourself and your family. If you haven’t been sick, the flu shot can still offer your protection from the flu. Stay home when you are sick and don’t spread the virus to others. And practice common sense prevention measures:
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Use hand sanitizers
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough by using the crook in their elbow rather than your hands
- Wipe down all hard surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
Banner is taking measures to protect patients. The health and safety of our patients, visitors and employees is a primary concern for Banner Health. All Banner Health employees, employed physicians, volunteers and students received a flu vaccination by Dec. 1, 2013. Those who were unable to receive the vaccination due to medical or religious reasons are required to wear a mask while in patient care settings during the flu season. In addition, Banner has implemented several visitor restrictions at all of its hospitals.
More flu information:
What is the flu?
- Flu shots
- Who should get a flu shot?
- Flu shots for people 50 and older
- Should Alzheimer's patients get the flu shot?
- Do flu and cold remedies go bad?
- Treating cold or flu symptoms
- Help for your sinuses
- Avoiding respiratory infections
- Nutritious soup recipes
Flu and children