Flu Season Watchouts For Business Travelers
Posted by: John Fisher, Physician Assistant, Cartus Wellness Center
As everyone in the U.S. is probably well aware, the country is currently in the midst of its annual cold and flu season. Influenza (flu) is prevalent in the U.S. right now. International travelers visiting the U.S. or other countries where influenza is an epidemic are at risk of influenza exposure and transmitting it to individuals throughout their travels.
This year, influenza has struck earlier in the U.S., and has been more severe, than in years past. Business travelers – both incoming and outgoing – to the U.S. need to be aware of the symptoms and precautions, as a bad case of the flu can severely impact business and travel plans.
Typically, viral cold symptoms begin with scratchy throat, runny nose, post-nasal drip and non-productive cough. A fever may be present, but is generally low grade (less than 100 degrees). Symptoms may be treated with over-the counter cough/cold medications. Medical evaluation is recommended if symptoms worsen or persist for more than one week.
Influenza (flu) symptoms are generally more severe and include sore throat, runny nose, cough, body aches and fever (generally more than 100 degrees). Flu symptoms require more immediate care as the illness can be incapacitating and dangerous, especially to very young or elderly individuals.
The Connecticut Department of Health has reported the following:
- National influenza activity has continued to increase throughout the country.
- In Connecticut, influenza activity has rapidly increased during the last two weeks and is classified now as widespread.
- Influenza A (H3N2) viruses appear to predominate within the U.S.
- You may still obtain your flu vaccine and take other steps to prevent influenza-related illnesses.
The following are recommended precautions:
- Get the flu vaccine at your physician’s office or any pharmacy if you have not already been vaccinated for the 2017-2018 flu season.
- Cover your cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Note: If you do develop influenza-like symptoms, there is anti-viral medication available specifically for treatment of influenza. This medication is most effective if started within 48 hours of illness onset. Please see a health care provider as soon as possible if you do experience cold and cough symptoms along with fever, chills and body aches.