Generally, flu season starts in October and ends in May. Millions of people contract the flu during flu season, however, it is possible to develop the flu at other times during the year, including during the summer.
Why is the Flu More Contagious in the Winter?
It’s very common to develop the flu during flu season, which begins at the beginning of the winter and ends at the end of spring. Studies have been performed that have given doctors an idea as to why the flu is more common in the cold weather.
First, the flu virus is more stable and able to remain airborne much longer when the weather is cold than when it is warm.
Second, studies have shown that the air is drier during the winter which can dehydrate the mucus in the nasal passages. This can lower your body's natural defense against the flu.
Although it is harder for the virus to survive in the summer and it is easier to catch when it’s cold outside, it is still possible to catch the flu during the summer.
Is It a Cold or the Flu?
According to Web MD, many people who catch a cold during the summer, often mistake it for the flu. This is because some of the symptoms are the same. There are, however, certain flu symptoms that you wouldn't experience if you just have a cold. If you start feeling sick during the summer, you should let your symptoms tell you why you’re sick.
Symptoms of a Cold:
- Stuffy or a runny nose
- Low-grade fever
- Symptoms usually last for 3 to 5 days
Symptoms of the Flu:
- High-grade fever
- Achy muscles
- Stuffy or a runny nose
- Symptoms usually last for 7 to 10 days
Treating the Flu During the Summer
If you suspect that you have the flu during the summer, you should visit your doctor or the Medical Specialty Center - Your Everyday Heath Care Clinic at Orchard Hospital. A quick Influenza test can be performed to tell you if it’s a cold or the flu. If you do have the flu, there is no cure, however, there are a few things that you can do to start feeling better.
- Tamiflu: Tamiflu is a medication that can be taken within the first couple days after catching the flu. This medication won't cure the flu, however, it will reduce the number of days that you have it. This is something that can be given at Orchard Hospital.
- Over the counter medications: There are over the counter medications that you can take to reduce your fever, treat your cough, and to treat your stuffy or a runny nose.
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated when you have the flu. When you have a fever, it’s very easy to become dehydrated. This can only make your symptoms worse. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of fluids when you’re sick.
- Get plenty of rest: When you have the flu, you need to get plenty of rest. Your body will be working overtime trying to fight off the infection, therefore, the flu can make you feel very weak. When you get the rest that you need, your body will be able to work its hardest to fight the infection.
Preventing the Flu During the Summer
If you want to keep from getting the flu during the summer, there are a few steps that you should take.
- Flu vaccine: Your best defense against the flu is to get the flu vaccine. Each vaccine is different and every person is different, therefore, the vaccine will still be effective for some people during the summer and it won't be for others.
- Wash your hands: The flu vaccine can be picked up anywhere, whether it’s in a bathroom, on a door knob, or just about any surface. It’s a good idea to wash your hands often. This will prevent the spread of the virus. If you cannot wash your hands as many times a day as you would like, you can carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you.
- Get plenty of rest: When you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system can become compromised. This can make it difficult for you to fight off the virus. It’s important that you get plenty of rest to keep your immune system strong.
It’s very rare to develop the flu during the summer, however, it’s not impossible. Many people who have developed the flu during the summer have reported that the symptoms are more severe than when they have had the virus during the winter. The best thing that you can do is take the necessary steps to keep from getting the flu virus at all.
If you feel like you’re coming down with something, you can also stop by one of our clinics. We take walk-ins! At our Medical Specialty Centers – Your Everyday Health Care Clinic, we work hard to ensure you fully understand your health status and the plan for your treatment. We have locations in Gridley, and Oroville!
Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior health care. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect.