Dr. Scott Lauter, Chief Medical Officer of Atlantic Medical Group, explains how patients can minimize the severity of the flu by quickly seeking medical intervention when symptoms emerge.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu each season.
If you’ve ever had the flu, you know that the flu is no fun. Common flu symptoms include a high fever, a dry cough, headaches, body aches and extreme exhaustion or fatigue. Other milder symptoms may include a sore throat, stuffy nose, and sneezing.
If you or a loved one are showing signs of the flu, it’s a good idea to seek a doctor’s care ASAP. Early treatment can minimize the severity of flu symptoms and the risk of complications, as well as shorten the duration of illness.
While you can be seen in a doctor’s office or urgent care center, another option is to stay in the comfort of your home and have a visit with a board-certified doctor through Atlantic Health’s Virtual Visit telehealth service. A Virtual Visit consult offers 24/7 access to a medical professional via phone or secure video using a phone, smartphone or PC.
If the physician determines you need a prescription for an antiviral medication or other drug, an order can be electronically sent to your pharmacy in moments. But these meds must be taking in the first 48 hours of feeling sick to be most effective. Follow up care can take place with your primary care physician or family doctor.
Patients who are experiencing severe symptoms or are considered high risk should consider a visit to the ER, an urgent care center or their primary care doctor when appropriate. For example, patients should immediately seek in-person care if any of these apply:•
- You are having severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, severe vomiting or confusion.
- You are considered a high-risk individual, which included children under 6, adults over 65, pregnant women, and anyone with Diabetes, Asthma, COPD, Heart disease, Stroke, or anything that can affect the immune system, such as Cancer or HIV infection.
- Learn more from the CDC >>.
Additionally, high-risk individuals who have been in close contact with someone likely to be infected with the flu should also seek medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure (even if you have no symptoms).
In many cases, antiviral medication can reduce the risk of contracting the flu or lessen the duration/severity of illness if you do start to get it. And as above, a virtual visit provides a high-quality and convenient alternative to an in-office evaluation.
If you or a loved one is feeling flu-ish, don’t forget that fast action can expedite your return to good health! Learn more at Atlantic Health Virtual Visit.