Flu season escalating: What you should know

man sick in bedThe slow start to the annual flu season has picked up in recent weeks to the point that one McLaren Oakland and McLaren Clarkston emergency medicine physician described it as "epidemic."

"The amount of influenza cases we've seen this week have been well above average," said Dr. Harrison Tong, an emergency medicine physician at McLaren Oakland and Clarkston. "It's always important to take preventative measures to avoid contraction, but with the prevalence of flu cases we've seen this week, taking extra precaution is highly advisable."

Common symptoms experienced by patients have included:
"¢ Fever
"¢ Sore throat
"¢ Congestion
"¢ Cough
"¢ Muscle aches
"¢ Chills

Dr. Harisson Tong
Dr. Harisson Tong
Emergency Medicine
(click for physician info)
Symptoms generally lasting five to seven days. Physicians recommend rest with plenty of fluids, but make an appointment with your physician or visit the McLaren Oakland or McLaren Clarkston emergency department if symptoms worsen or persist.

Dr. Tong added that seniors are most at-risk for contraction.

"Keep an eye out for these symptoms not only in yourself," he said, "but in those around you as well."

"¢ If sick, limit time with others to prevent them from becoming ill as well.
"¢ If a physician prescribes antiviral medication, take as directed-this will help to shorten the length of time you are ill.
"¢ After a fever, stay home at least 24 hours without having used fever reducer medication.
"¢ Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth to avoid the spread of germs from your hands to vulnerable parts of your body.
"¢ Immediately throw away all used tissues, cover all coughs and cover nose and mouth-with both hands-when sneezing.
"¢ Clean and disinfect all high-touch, common areas every day.

If you do not have a family doctor, make an appointment with a McLaren Oakland family physician at mclaren.org/macombappointments or visit the McLaren Oakland or McLaren Clarkston emergency departments.