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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | January 21st, 2018


    Every day we hear of someone that has succumbed to the flu. Although the people who are high risk are those older than 65 years of age,  people with chronic medical conditions, women who are pregnant and people living in a nursing home or long-term facility, the people featured in the news have been young and apparently healthy without risk factors.

    Prevention is definitely key and you need to be proactive.

    1. GET THE FLU VACCINE– Although you have heard that there are people who have gotten the vaccine and still have tested positive for the flu, we believe it can still be helpful in minimizing the symptoms when you do get the flu.
    2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – Eat real food (avoid processed food) especially vegetables and fruits, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, meditate, scrape your tongue daily, take your multivitamins.
    3. WASH YOUR HANDS REGULARLY – We have this tendency to touch our face, nose and mouth. It is really important to avoid doing this, however keeping our hands clean may lessen the chances of spreading germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol- based hand rub. it should contain at least 60% alcohol.
    4. CLEAN AND DISINFECT FREQUENTLY TOUCHED SURFACES AT HOME, WORK OR SCHOOL – The first thing I do when I get to the office is wipe down the keyboards and phones that I will be using in the office.
    5. IF PRESCRIBED A MEDICATION FOR FLU, PLEASE TAKE ALL MEDICATION AS PRESCRIBED – if you are someone who is at high risk of getting the flu and you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the flu, you can be given medication to help prevent the flu – call your doctor.


    Sometimes it can be confusing whether your symptoms are a cold or flu. The table below should be helpful.

    Cold versus the Flu: How to tell the Difference

    Symptoms are usually less severe than flu symptoms Symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms
    Symptoms develop gradually over a few days Symptoms come on quickly and severely
    You rarely have a fever You almost always have a fever
    You feel sick mostly in your head and nose Your entire body feels sick
    Body aches, headaches and pain are usually mild if you have them Body aches, headaches and pain are common and can be severe
    You may or may not feel tired and weak Tiredness and weakness are common
    There is no vaccine to protect you You can get a vaccine to protect yourself
    Colds generally do not result in serious health problems The flu can result in serious health problems such as pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalization
    You should contact your doctor if symptoms change or get worse You should contact your doctor or go to the nearest Emergency Room immediately if you suspect you have the flu – there are antiviral medications to treat the flu.
    Caused by a virus Caused by a virus
    Affects the body’s breathing system (nose , throat, windpipe and lungs) Affects the body’s breathing system (nose , throat, windpipe and lungs)

    Table adapted from Massachusetts Department of Public Health

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