Are you feeling flu-like? If so, you are not alone. North Texas is currently one of the worst areas for influenza in the country as hundreds of people are suffering from the flu or flu-like symptoms.

Additionally,  the number of regions in the state reporting increased flu activity has heightened dramatically in recent weeks.

The only way you can catch the flu is by being physically exposed to the virus either from a surface or by an individual. Common flu symptoms to be aware of include: fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, headache, coughing, and runny or stuffy nose. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to keep the virus from spreading. We recommend:

 ·    Getting the flu shot. It’s not too late.

 ·    Wipe down your phone with a disinfectant.

 ·    Wear a medical mask while traveling.

 ·    Wash your hands consistently throughout the day.

 ·    Practice social distancing, such as not shaking hands.

Unfortunately, you can be contagious without having symptoms and can spread the flu a full day before you are symptomatic. If you do get the flu, it is recommended to remain home until at least 24 hours after your fever has broken. Tamiflu can shorten the duration of the flu and may help prevent complications from the flu. If you feel you have flu-like symptoms contact Family Medicine Associates of Texas to learn more about specific flu-related information and treatment.

It can be difficult to distinguish your flu-like symptoms from something more severe that may require emergency care. To help, here are some of the true emergency symptoms to be cautious of:

In children:

 Fast breathing or trouble breathing

 Bluish skin color

 Not drinking enough fluids

 Not waking up or not interacting

 Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held

 Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

 Fever with a rash

In adults:

 Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

 Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

 Sudden dizziness

 Confusion

 Severe or persistent vomiting

 Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain is a general family medicine practitioner at Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton.

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