Dear Readers: Is it a cold or the flu? Do you know the difference? Flu season is here, and you could be a victim. Here are some symptoms of this respiratory illness:
• Body aches
• Cough and sore throat
• Runny nose
• Headache and fever (although fever is not always present).
Flu is spread mostly by coughing and sneezing, and by touching surfaces that hold the virus and then touching your mouth or eyes. Don’t rub your eyes!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) say that a flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza. There are two types of flu vaccines:
1. A flu shot contains the actual flu virus, but don’t worry — it’s not active and will not give you the flu. There are three varieties of shots:
• The typical flu shot, which is recommended for most people, even those who are pregnant.
• For those over 65, a stronger dose.
• And there is a new variety this season for people 18-64 that is injected into the skin.
2. The other type of flu vaccine is a nasal spray. It is approved for healthy people who are not pregnant.
Some people should not have the flu shot: people with egg allergies, infants younger than 6 months and people who already are ill fall into this category.
Talk to your health care provider about the flu, the flu shot and how to protect yourself and your family. — Heloise
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, PO BOX 795000, San Antonio TX 78279-5000; fax: 210-HELOISE; email: Heloise@Heloise.com; website: www.heloise.com.