According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospitalization rates for the seasonal flu are at a high this year—hospitalizations are estimated to be at about 8.1 per 100,000 people.
The CDC recommends that people who have not received the flu shot (especially children, elderly adults and others at a high risk for serious flu-related complications) get vaccinated as soon as possible to help stem the spread of the flu.
It’s not too late to find a doctor and begin to fortify your body against the flu—while flu season is usually associated with winter, it can last as late as May. Many people search for short-term remedies once they get sick; however, working to establish a long-term relationship with your doctor can set you up for great health, and help you and your family fight off the flu.
If you don’t already have a primary care physician, or if you are not happy with your current doctor, take the time to find a healthcare provider that fits your needs. At Swedish Covenant Hospital, we have more than 600 physicians (approximately 180 internal medicine physicians, and more than 60 family practitioners) that can help you get—and stay—healthy. Finding a doctor who you feel comfortable with can help you tackle the flu in two main ways:
Preventing the Flu
Working closely with your primary care physician, you can prepare yourself for flu season. Your doctor can help you make sure that your immune system is at its best, using a variety of treatments and lifestyle interventions, if needed.
The CDC recommends yearly flu vaccines, as well as healthy habits to help prevent the flu. These habits include frequent hand washing, limiting the amount you touch your eyes, nose and mouth, and avoiding contact with sick individuals.
Treating It Early
If you do start experiencing symptoms of the flu, such as body aches, fever and chills, it is important to get early treatment. Your doctor can help you get started on the treatments you need to stop the flu from progressing, and to prevent more serious flu-related complications.
Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to help reduce the length and severity of the flu. The earlier you take these medications, the better (within two days of getting sick is best). Still, antiviral medications can be useful later on, so you will want to talk with your primary care provider about how they might help you get better quickly—and reduce your chances of transmitting the flu to your loved ones.
Remember: Prevention is key when it comes to the flu. An ongoing commitment to your health can help you stave off a variety of illnesses and help protect you, even during the height of flu season.
It is easy to find a doctor using Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Find a Doctor system. You can search by the categories that are most important to you, from office location to languages spoken. Click here to use our detailed search system.