Managing Cold and Flu Season

Man recieving a flu shot at Hometown Pharmacy in Gainesville, TX

Managing Cold and Flu Season

It’s that dreaded time of year again when we have to worry about various strains of the flu lingering about. Fortunately, if you’re prepared, then you won’t have so much to worry about. As you’ve probably learned by now, the best chance at protection against the flu is getting vaccinated each year. In fact, the annual flu vaccination is something that’s been recommended by the government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention since 2010.

Even with these recommendations in place, 5 to 20 percent of Americans are still diagnosed with the flu every year. Each person is affected by the flu differently, which can lead to severe symptoms resulting in hospitalization and, in some cases, death. Here at Hometown Pharmacy, we understand the importance of being informed and prepared. We’ve gathered some essential information on the flu vaccine, how to manage symptoms, and other significant facts. For your convenience, we offer the flu vaccine right here at Hometown Pharmacy, so stop by one of our locations today! You can find us in Gainesville, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Get Your Flu Shot!

First things first: It’s absolutely critical that you get your flu shot. There are countless pharmacies, clinics, employers, and even schools that offer the flu shot through your insurance or at an affordable cost if you’re uninsured. The antibodies in the flu vaccine provide you the protection you need against infection. All individuals who are 6 months of age and older are strongly encouraged to receive the flu shot each year. Remember that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to fully develop and protect against infection, so it’s crucial to get vaccinated prior to flu season.

Managing Symptoms

In many instances, it’s easy to mistake a common cold for the flu. This is understandable considering that many of the symptoms are quite similar. However, one key difference is that cold symptoms develop more slowly and tend to be milder than those symptoms that are flu-related. Common symptoms of a cold include a runny nose, mild body aches, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, chest congestions, and watery eyes. You might experience these symptoms with the flu as well, but they’re often accompanied by more severe symptoms. You might have the flu if you’re also experiencing exhaustion, fatigue, chills or sweating, loss of appetite, a fever of over 100°.

You can manage symptoms in a number of ways. It’s important to note that colds and the flu are caused by viruses aren’t curable by antibiotics. There are many options available to provide relief from the symptoms, which can be helpful. You can take acetaminophen to reduce pain and fever. If you need to dry out a runny nose, you might consider taking antihistamines. For a stuffy nose, you’ll need a decongestant instead. When you need to reduce coughing, try taking antitussives for suppression. For a sore throat, take throat lozenges and gargle with warm salt water a couple of times throughout the day. Your best bet at avoiding these unpleasant symptoms is protecting yourself against the flu by getting vaccinated.

Know the Facts

There are many different theories floating around about certain methods that can be used to relieve cold and flu symptoms. As a matter of fact, many people swear by some of these methods. It’s important to know the facts before you try something in hopes that it’ll relieve your symptoms or ‘cure’ your flu.

First and foremost, the only true chance of protection against getting the flu is receiving the annual vaccination. Secondly, taking zinc orally might help treat cold symptoms, but it can also cause side effects and interact with other medication. It’s always best to consult with your doctor before starting any medication or supplement. Contrary to popular belief, Vitamin C doesn’t prevent colds. At best, Vitamin C can slightly reduce the length and severity of a cold. Echinacea, an herbal supplement, is often used to help prevent and treat colds. However, there is no consistent research to support this theory. There is little to no information on the use of probiotic supplements as treatment and prevention for cold and flu symptoms.

Your health is our priority at Hometown Pharmacy. We highly suggest having a conversation with your primary doctor before starting a new nutrition/supplement routine. Give us a call or visit one of our locations today to see all we have to offer, including the flu vaccine! We’re located in Gainesville, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. If you’re interested in getting your health in excellent shape, we’d be happy to introduce you to our Nature’s Source Vitamins. Stop by today! We’re also proud to be the only local medical equipment provider in the areas that we serve.