Brought to you by Cheshire Medical Center

Flu season is in full swing in the Granite State.  Media reports of this year’s outbreak have Monadnock Region residents seeking to protect themselves and their families from the flu.

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends these every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs and reduce your risk of getting the flu.

When to seek medical attention for the flu

Marika Henegan, MD, medical director of Cheshire Medical Center’s Walk-In Care clinic, notes that the Walk-In Care is seeing a high number of patients seeking evaluation for their symptoms which may or may not be influenza.  “Patients who really need to seek care are those with high fever lasting longer than 2-3 days, patients concerned about their hydration (vomiting, diarrhea), or those with difficulty breathing, chest pain, or stomach pain, dizziness or lightheadedness,” says Dr. Henegan, “If you have milder symptoms, and no chronic medical condition warranting concern, the treatment should be focused on pain, fever, and symptom control at home.  With full waiting rooms, the concern of spreading influenza, and exposing patients to it if they don’t yet have it, is real.”

Dehydration is a serious concern with the flu

It is important to drink extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated while sick with the flu.  Mild fluid loss can often be treated at home.  Yet, severe dehydration is very serious and must be treated in the hospital.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

Moderate Dehydration

  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • Increased thirst
  • Skin goes back slowly when pinched
  • Decreased urine
  • Decreased tears, depressed fontanels in infants

Severe Dehydration

  • Lethargy or unconsciousness
  • Very dry mouth and tongue
  • Skin goes back very slowly when pinched (“tenting”)
  • Weak or absent pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Minimal or no urine

The CDC created an easy to follow guide for caring for someone with the flu which includes helpful information about preventing dehydration and preventing the spread of the flu in your home.