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Staying healthy during flu season: A conversation with Dr. Alfred Seekamp

We asked Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alfred Seekamp how to stay healthy during flu season. Here’s what he said. 

Q: What are some simple ways to avoid catching the flu this year?
Dr. Seekamp: The best way to prevent the flu is to be vaccinated. There are also some things we all can do to stop the spread of germs, including:

  • Getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand cleaner
  • Avoiding touching your mouth, eyes, and nose
  • Covering your cough (using a tissue that you throw away is best)
  • Avoiding being around people who are sick and, if you are sick, staying at home

Q: How do you know if you have the flu or just a common cold?
Dr. Seekamp: Colds and the flu are both respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses. The symp­toms can be very similar, but usually are more intense with the flu (fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough). With a cold you are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose than you are with the flu.

Q: When should you see your doctor if you think you have the flu?
Dr. Seekamp: Most often with rest and self-care measures, people are back to normal in about two weeks. If symptoms are not improving or are getting worse, it is always a good idea to contact your provider’s office for more specific advice. This is especially true for patients who have other medical condi­tions, are pregnant, or are very young or older.