Protect Yourself From the Flu

What you need to know about the flu

Flu activity is widespread across the state of Michigan and nationally. Making this year’s flu season more severe is the H3N2 strain, which is associated with complications. We strongly urge you to get the flu shot if you haven’t already. The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu. We have ample vaccine supply at most Henry Ford locations.

The flu shot is recommended for anyone 6 months and older. While it doesn’t stop you from getting the flu, it does help lessen the symptoms. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop. People at high risk for complications from the flu are seniors, children and those with chronic health conditions like lung or heart disease, asthma, diabetes.

Henry Ford has placed temporary visitor restrictions at its hospitals to help prevent the spread of flu illness.

Temporary Visitor Restrictions

If you think you have the flu

Most people with the flu do not need medical care, and should stay home to prevent spreading the virus to others. If you get sick with flu symptoms you should:

  • Stay home and rest
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid close contact with people in your home
  • Drink plenty of water and other liquids to prevent dehydration
  • Call your primary care doctor if you are very sick

The flu is a virus, so antibiotics will not effectively treat flu symptoms. The best way to prevent spreading the flu is to stay home if you are sick.

  • When to seek emergency medical care

    If you become ill and have any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

    Warning signs in children

    • Fast breathing
    • Bluish or gray skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Irritability so bad the child does not want to be held
    • Symptoms improving, then returning with fever and worse cough

    Warning signs in adults

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting
    • Symptoms improving, then returning with fever and worse cough
  • Call us for advice

    Our MyCare Advice Line is available 24/7 at no charge to patients with a Henry Ford Medical Group internal medicine, family medicine or pediatric doctor. It is staffed by Henry Ford Registered nurses who can offer you advice about the flu and other illnesses and help you decide if you can self-treat at home or need to seek medical care. Call us at (844) 262-1949.
    Non-Henry Ford Medical Group patients, please call your primary care doctor for advice

    Henry Ford Alliegance patients, please call your primary care doctor for advice

    Flu Symptoms

    People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs that usually start suddenly:

    • Fever (not everyone with flu will have a fever)
    • Fatigue
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headaches
    • Cough
    • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.

    Cold Symptoms

    • Comes on slowly
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Sneezing
    • Sore throat
  • Treating Flu

    There are prescription medicines called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness. These medicines are prescribed by a doctor and are not sold over the counter. When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days. They also can prevent serious complications like pneumonia.

    Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person is at high risk of serious flu complications or is very sick from the flu.

    Practice good health hygiene

    During flu season and throughout the year, take these actions to help stop the spread of germs:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash your hands. A lot. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel or wipes.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect touched surfaces at home, work or school.