Flu Season

Flu Prevention Tips

Simple & Sensible Flu Prevention Tips

Flu PreventionJust when you got used to wearing a mask and washing your hands for 20 seconds, here comes flu season and another highly infectious illness to worry about. Much like COVID-19, seasonal influenza (the flu) is passed through respiratory droplets that are produced when we speak, cough, and sneeze. No need to panic, however—with a little common sense, you can help prevent the flu and keep your family safe this season.

Get Your Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot is the single best way to prevent the flu. And while it is possible to catch the virus after receiving a flu shot, your symptoms will likely be much less severe than if you had not been vaccinated. Affinity Urgent Care provides flu shots to adults and children on a walk in basis—stop by today!

Keep Your Distance

Sound familiar? When possible, try to stay at least six feet away from others at the grocery store, gym, park, and other public places.

Wash Your Hands Regularly

The flu is considered to be an airborne illness, but it is often spread through physical contact and by touching frequently used surfaces. Washing your hands regularly can help rinse viruses and other germs down the drain.

An Apple a Day…

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help bolster your immune system—your body’s defense against the flu virus—and keep you healthy. Try incorporating foods with immune-boosting vitamins C, B6, and E into your diet.

For flu shots, flu testing, and flu treatment, Affinity Urgent Care is here to help. Contact our friendly professionals today to learn more. Our team is proud to serve adults and children at our clinics in La Marque, Alvin, and Galveston, Texas.


COVID-19 vs. the Flu: How to Tell the Difference

COVID-19 vs. the Flu: How to Tell the Difference

COVID-19 vs. the Flu: How to Tell the DifferenceFlu season has officially arrived, which means more and more people will be left wondering if their symptoms are the result of seasonal flu or COVID-19. Unfortunately, no internet article can provide a definitive answer—only a medical professional can administer appropriate testing and diagnose your symptoms with certainty.

With that said, there are a few key differences between flu and COVID-19 symptoms that may give you a better idea of what’s behind your illness.

Is It the Flu or Coronavirus?

The flu and COVID-19 are both highly contagious infections that are caused by viruses—the flu by influenza viruses A and B, and COVID-19 by SARS-CoV-2. Both can produce similar symptoms, which may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

Reduced sense of taste or smell is another common symptom of COVID-19. However, it is not associated with the flu. If you feel sick and suddenly find it difficult to taste food or smell your favorite lotions or body washes, COVID-19 may be to blame.

Another factor to consider is the intensity of your symptoms. Many cases of COVID-19 are very mild. The flu, on the other hand, is usually associated with several days of disruptive symptoms and fatigue that may linger for weeks.

Your Next Step

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, your next step should be to contact Affinity Urgent Care. Our fully equipped centers in La Marque, Alvin, and Galveston, Texas, offer telemedicine services as well as rapid COVID-19 and flu testing. Contact our friendly team today to learn more.


Put Vaccines On Your “To Do” List

 

Put Vaccines On Your “To Do” List

AUGUST 2020 – It’s August! That means the start of National Immunization Awareness Month. It’s a month where we at Affinity Urgent Care want to highlight the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life.

As your children start school again this fall, whether virtual or in-person, we want to help you make sure they’re safe. That’s why we’re putting vaccines at the top of the “Back to School Checklist.”

Did you know? Vaccines have the power to protect your children against serious diseases like measles, cancers caused by HPV, and whooping cough.

And it’s not all for the little ones, either. Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases:

A meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections;
HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV;
Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough;
and a yearly flu vaccine

Come talk to us at Affinity Urgent Care to make sure you and your family are up to date on recommended vaccines.

Despite the myth, vaccines aren’t just for children. Adults also need vaccines to protect against whooping cough, flu, pneumonia, and shingles.

At Affinity Urgent Care, we can recommend the vaccines you may need for your age, health conditions, job, or lifestyle. However, some vaccines may need to be special ordered, so let us know ahead of time if you know you need a specific one.

Considering pregnancy? If you are pregnant, getting vaccinated can help protect your baby. This is because mothers have the ability to pass on antibodies to their children. These antibodies can give your baby short-term protection from flu and whooping cough until it is time for their own vaccines.

At Affinity Urgent Care, we can tell you more about the vaccines you need during pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby.

Did you know? Vaccines actually work with your body’s natural defenses to help your body safely develop protection from diseases. And of course, they are tested before licensing and carefully monitored afterward to ensure their safety. However, like all medical products, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild and go away quickly.

The CDC says that every year thousands of adults in the U.S. are hospitalized because of diseases that vaccines can help prevent. Many adults even die from these diseases.

By getting vaccinated, you can help protect yourself and your family from serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.

This National Immunization Awareness Month, we at Affinity Urgent Care are highlighting the importance of vaccines. Help us spread the word! Follow the conversation on our Facebook page. When you share on social media, use #ivax2protect to share why you choose to vaccinate.


Seven Mistakes That Will Make Your Cold Worse

woman with cold symptomsA lot of what we believe about the common cold is myth. No, you won’t get a cold because you went outside with a wet head or slept in a drafty room. But here’s what is true. When you’re sick, some common mistakes can make your cold symptoms worse — or prevent you from getting better.

If you’re feeling crummy and stuffed up, here are 7 things that could make your cold worse.

1. Pretending you’re not sick. This never works. You can’t ignore a cold. When you get sick, you need to take care of yourself. Your body needs extra energy when it’s fighting an infection. If you try to push through a cold, especially if you have a fever, you’ll exhaust yourself. That could make your cold worse.

2. Not sleeping enough. Getting enough sleep is key for a healthy immune system. One study found that sleeping less than 7 hours a night almost triples your risk of getting a cold in the first place. If your cold symptoms keep you up at night, try to go to bed earlier or take naps during the day. You need extra rest, however you get it.

3. Getting stressed. It turns out that stress can make you more likely to get a cold. Over time, high levels of stress hormones can stop your immune system from working normally. The result: More sick days.

4. Drinking too little. You need to drink a lot of fluid when you’re sick. Why? Fluids will help thin your mucus, making your sinuses drain better. Just about any fluid will help. Water, juice, hot tea, and soup are all good. Contrary to what you’ve heard, even milk is OK — the notion that it causes mucus build-up is a myth.

5. Drinking alcohol. Too much alcohol can leave you dehydrated and worsen cold symptoms such as congestion. It can also suppress your immune system and — potentially — interact with cold medications you’re taking. Until you’re feeling better, it’s best to lay off the booze.

6. Overusing decongestant sprays. Be careful with nasal decongestant sprays. They may work well at first. But if you use them for more than three days, your stuffy nose will get worse when you stop.

7. Smoking. Smokers get more colds than nonsmokers. They also get worse colds that last longer. Smoking damages cells in the lungs, making it harder for you to fight off a cold. If you’re sick with a cold, don’t smoke — and don’t let anyone around you smoke either.

Not sure if it’s a cold or the flu? Learn about these respiratory illnesses in Flu Vs. Cold: What’s the Difference?

SOURCE: www.webmd.com


How to Prepare for Flu Season

Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another. Flu viruses are constantly changing so it’s not unusual for new flu virus strains to appear each year.

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

What should I do to prepare for this flu season?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.

In addition, you can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools.

Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else, like a health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or work.

Visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to locate where you can get a flu shot.

How long does a flu vaccine protect me from getting the flu?.

Multiple studies conducted over different seasons and across vaccine types and influenza virus subtypes have shown that the body’s immunity to influenza viruses (acquired either through natural infection or vaccination) declines over time. The decline in antibodies is influenced by several factors, including the antigen used in the vaccine, age of the person being vaccinated, and the person’s general health (for example, certain chronic health conditions may have an impact on immunity). When most healthy people with regular immune systems are vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies and they are protected throughout the flu season, even as antibody levels decline over time. People with weakened immune systems may not generate the same amount of antibodies after vaccination; further, their antibody levels may drop more quickly when compared to healthy people.

For everyone, getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season. It’s important to get a flu vaccine every year, even if you got vaccinated the season before and the viruses in the vaccine have not changed for the current season.

SOURCE: www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/


Treating a Cough at Home & When to See a Doctor

Coughing is what you do when something bugs your throat, whether it’s dust or postnasal drip. Coughing also helps clear your lungs and windpipe. Many coughs, like those from cold and flu, will go away on their own. If yours comes from a more serious medical condition, you need to treat the cause. Whatever the reason, if coughing’s driving you crazy, there are ways to feel better.

Treating a Cough at Home

Drink plenty of fluids or use a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer to soothe an irritated throat and loosen mucus. Prop your head up on extra pillows at night and have a little honey before bed. Studies show honey can help ease a cough. Don’t give honey to children under 12 months.

Calming a “Wet” Cough

If you’re coughing up mucus, look for a cough medicine that says “expectorant.” That loosens mucus to help you cough it up. If you’re coughing up a lot of mucus, check with your doctor to see what the best cough medicine is for you. Also, talk to your doctor before using cough medicine for serious conditions like emphysema, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, or asthma. Don’t give cough and cold medicine to children under 4.

Calming a “Dry” Cough

You may get a dry cough with a cold or the flu or if you breathe in something irritating like dust or smoke. A cough “suppressant” helps stop your urge to cough. Plus, it can help you sleep better. Cough drops — or even hard candy — can stop that tickle in the back of your throat. Don’t give cough drops to children younger than 4.

Cough Medicine and Children

Never give cough medicine to children younger than 4 because it can have serious side effects. For children 4 to 6 years old, ask your doctor before giving any cough and cold medicines. They’re safe after age 6. For children 1 and up, try 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey to help them cough up mucus.

Will Antibiotics Stop a Cough?

Usually, no. That’s because most coughs are caused by viral infections like cold or flu and will get better in a week. Antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria. If your cough isn’t better after a week, see your doctor to make sure it’s not caused by a bacterial illness like a sinus infection or pneumonia. If it is, you may need an antibiotic.

Coughs From Allergies and Asthma

Allergies can make you sneeze, cough, or both. An antihistamine may help. Some newer ones at the drugstore won’t make you sleepy. If you’re also wheezing — where your breath sounds like whistling — you may have asthma and need to see your doctor.

Smoker’s Cough

If you smoke, chances are you cough, especially in the morning. But that cough may be a sign of something more serious. Sometimes smoke irritates the airways and causes inflammation that turns into chronic bronchitis. It can also be a warning sign of cancer. If your cough seems different than usual, or if it lasts after you quit smoking for a month, see your doctor.

What Else Causes Coughs?

If your cough lasts longer than eight weeks, a number of things could be to blame. Chronic coughs can be caused by acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. They can be a side effect of ACE inhibitors, a kind of blood pressure medicine. They can be a sign of whooping cough and even heart failure. All of these conditions need medical attention.

When to Call the Doctor for a Cough

For a long-lasting cough, call your doctor if:

  • You have a deep cough with lots of mucus or the mucus is bloody
  • You’re wheezing, short of breath, or have a tight chest
  • You have a fever that doesn’t go away after 3 days
  • Your child has the chills or nighttime coughing fits
  • You’re still coughing after 7 days without getting better

SOURCE: WebMD