Influenza or ‘flu’ is an acute respiratory illness caused by the Influenza A or Influenza B virus. Outbreaks and epidemics occur worldwide, mainly during the winter months of December through March. Historical data shows that December and February are peak months for influenza cases. (1)
In tropical regions like Puerto Rico, the influenza season can occur year-round and there may be more than one outbreak period per year (aren't we lucky?!). Currently, Puerto Rico is at a moderate level for influenza-like illness activity. (2)
How is Influenza spread?
Influenza is spread from person-to-person via large particle droplets (think sneezing and coughing). Try to avoid others who have influenza, but if you do get sick, use a tissue, cover your nose and mouth, and wash your hands after sneezing and coughing to avoid spreading influenza to others.
If you come in contact with someone who has influenza, and you get infected, symptoms will start to show between 1 to 4 days. This is called the incubation period. (3)
Influenza usually starts with fever, headache (often behind the eyes), muscle or joint soreness, cough, sore throat, nasal discharge, and general feelings of illness and fatigue. Symptoms have a fast onset, and after a couple days of feeling miserable, you should improve every day until feeling back to normal. (4)
After one week you don't feel significantly better AND
you are doing everything you can to get better, BUT
feel worse every day, OR
you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Moderate to severe shortness of breath (20-25 breaths/minute) with normal activities
- Dizziness, persistent racing heartbeat, or fainting
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bloody mucus
- Shaking with chills
- Chest pains when breathing or talking
- Unable to keep down food or liquid
...seek medical attention.
Sometimes influenza affects the lungs and results in pneumonia, which can decrease oxygen levels and lead to a life-threatening situation. Those with influenza that are at higher risk to develop pneumonia include: children under 5, adults over 65, and patients with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, COPD, cancer, among others.
To keep your immune system strong and prevent influenza, try the following every day:
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of quality water
- Avoid refined sugars and reduce sugar intake
- Take steps to reduce chronic stress
- Get adequate rest (8 hours are recommended)
- Eat more nutrient-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables
- Take a multivitamin
- Exercise regularly
Bounce Back Faster
If you do get influenza, try these tips for a faster recovery:
- Tea with anise, goldenseal, and echinacea (found at your local supermarket)
- IV Hydration for immune support
- If you do go to work, avoid stressful situations as much as possible (yes, take it easy!)
- Meditate or just sit quietly for stress relief
- REST, as all of the energy our body uses to walk, talk, and work is needed to heal.
How Can Pravan Help ?
- Health optimization: We work with you to achieve optimal health, and make sure that your vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals levels are the best they can be.
- Chronic condition management: If you do have a chronic condition, it will be managed better with the help of your Pravan physician, and you will be better able to fight influenza if it comes your way.
- Baseline of your health information: We have your baseline data in our electronic health record, so we can diagnose you and develop a treatment plan faster.
- IV hydration therapy to boost your immune system.
- Symptom relief recommendations: Whether over-the-counter medications or prescriptions, we've got you covered.
- Easy access to a medical team: If a red flag symptom comes up, you have someone by your side 24/7 to help you through the diagnosis and healing process.
- Unlimited appointments with our nutritionist: Boost your immune system naturally with diet improvements and reduce your likelihood to get infections.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine...
Call us for an orientation at 787.339.2639 for more information about what Pravan Health can do for you.