Influenza (flu) is a nasty illness for anyone to endure, but for vulnerable people, it could prove life-threatening. If you think you might have influenza, contact your local PrimeMD office in North Columbus, Newark, Lancaster, Westerville, Kenton, Marion, Wilmington, Dublin, or New Albany, Ohio. The experienced medical teams offer rapid flu tests, advice on managing your symptoms, and ongoing care for patients who develop complications. You can also book your flu vaccine to reduce your risk of getting influenza by calling PrimeMD today or scheduling an appointment online.
Influenza (flu) is a viral infection that can cause symptoms such as:
You might also develop an earache, a sinus infection, or bronchitis after having the flu.
Influenza has similar symptoms to colds but has the potential to be more serious, especially in seniors, infants, and people with depressed immune systems. One of the chief concerns is that influenza can lead to pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening lung disease.
PrimeMD offers a rapid flu test that takes about 15 minutes. It can tell you whether you have the flu or not, but not the specific strain. It's generally unnecessary to do a more specific lab test for influenza, as it won't make a difference to your treatment.
Often, your symptoms are sufficient for a diagnosis of influenza. Your provider at PrimeMD discusses your symptoms with you and checks your medical history. They listen to the sounds in your lungs and measure vital signs like your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.
They can also use a pulse oximeter (a small electronic device that goes on your finger) to see how much oxygen is present in your blood. Other procedures that might be necessary to check for complications like pneumonia include chest X-rays, lung function tests, blood tests, and mucus sample tests.
As the symptoms of influenza can be similar to those of COVID-19, your provider is likely to ask you to take a COVID-19 test as well.
Influenza is a virus, which means antibiotics do not affect it. For healthy people, the best treatment is rest, drinking clear liquids, eating easily digested foods, and using over-the-counter medications to manage the symptoms.
Those who are vulnerable to flu complications might need to take antiviral medications or other prescription medicines. If complications like pneumonia do set in, you might have to spend some time in the hospital receiving intravenous fluids and drugs.
One way of reducing your risk of getting infectious diseases like influenza is to follow strict hygiene practices like regular hand washing and avoiding unnecessary contact. However, the best defense against influenza is to have a yearly flu shot.
The influenza virus has multiple strains, and each year one or two become dominant. An annual flu shot immunizes you against the strains of flu that are most widespread that year. However, as the dominant strains change, you need to have a new shot the following year for optimal protection.
People of all ages can safely have a flu shot at PrimeMD to protect them from influenza. While the injection isn't 100% effective, if you do pick up the flu, the shot makes the virus less aggressive, so your symptoms won't be so bad.
To book your family's influenza or flu shots, call PrimeMD today or schedule an appointment using the online booking form.