The latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t good. The 2019-2020 flu season has started early. There are things you can do to protect your family – including getting a flu shot, wearing protective masks when visiting medical facilities, washing your hands regularly and checking for fever any time you believe someone in your household is ill.
Flu season also means cold season, and the secondary allergy season is well underway in many areas as well, but the flu usually causes sudden and severe. Detecting a fever with a digital thermometer like the DualScan PRIME Ear & Forehead Digital Thermometer is one way to help determine if your loved ones have the flu or a cold.
A Concerning Flu Season
Flu season in the United States continues to worsen, according to experts. All portions of the nation are experiencing elevated levels of flu and similar illnesses. Reports have come in from at least 30 states and Puerto Rico.
So far, the CDC is estimating that there have been 3.7 million flu cases resulting in 32,000 people being admitted to a hospital. Since 2010, it has impacted about 49 million people annually.
While predicting the flu is challenging for even the most experienced public health officials, most expect that flu activity will continue on the rise over the next few weeks. Perhaps, peaking earlier than normal due to the early start. The season can go until March or even April, although a peak in February is most common.
A flu shot is usually recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. The nasal vaccine is recommended in some cases. The best time for the vaccine is in late September, but getting it later in the season can still prevent illness or reduce its symptoms and impact.
Symptoms of The Flu
Flu can be mild to severe. Unlike a cold, symptoms usually come on suddenly and can include:
- Fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffed-up nose
- Overall body aches and muscle aches
- Diarrhea and vomiting, which is more common in children.
Not everyone with a cold will have a fever, so a high fever is a good indication that an illness is the flu rather than a cold. If you don’t have a digital health thermometer, it can be difficult to make a fever determination – and that means it may be hard to decide when to get medical help.
Here are some tips that can help you differentiate between the flu and a cold to prevent escalation:
- Symptoms start gradually with a cold but abruptly with the flu.
- Fever is rare with a cold but usual with the flu, lasting 3 to 4 days.
- Aches are slight with a cold but usual and often severe with the flu.
- Chills are uncommon with a cold but fairly common with the flu.
- Weakness and fatigue may happen with a cold but usually happen with the flu.
- Sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat are common with a cold but happen only sometimes with the flu.
- Chest discomfort and coughing are mild to moderate with a cold but can be severe with the flu.
- Headaches are rare with a cold but common with the flu.
While anyone can get the flu – even people who are completely healthy – serious complications are possible at any age, the old and the young are most at risk of serious complications. This includes people over the age of 65 and those under the age of 5 as well as people with diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other serious health concerns.
Don’t Take Chances with Your Family’s Health
To check for fever symptoms, consider using the DualScan PRIME Ear & Forehead Digital Thermometer. You can check for temperature at the ear or on the forehead. Using this well-made and affordable thermometer is a smart first step for determining if your loved one has the flu. When in doubt, of course, you should always get medical attention since no advice substitutes for the training and experience of a physician.
Talk to your doctor about a flu shot. During flu season, you simply can’t be too careful so make sure to wash your hands. There’s never any reason to take chances with your family’s health.