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flu symptoms

Flu can be dangerous. Here’s when to seek emergency help.

If you’ve ever had the flu, you know it’s a miserable experience. Luckily for most people, getting through it means staying home from work, resting and recuperating.

However, for some people – even those who are otherwise healthy – the flu can quickly turn into an emergency. Here are the symptoms of the flu that require a trip to the emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

In children:

  • Troubled or fast breathing.
  • Bluish skin color.
  • Not drinking enough fluids.
  • Not waking up or not interacting.
  • Irritability that causes the child to refuse being held.
  • Symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
  • Fever with a rash.

For infants, in addition to the signs above:

  • Unable to eat.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • No tears when crying.
  • Fewer wet diapers than normal.

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
  • Sudden dizziness.
  • Confusion.
  • Severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

If you or a loved one has any of the symptoms above, seek medical help. A doctor can prescribe antiviral medications, which can help those with the flu feel better faster and can prevent the onset of more serious complications.

Because flu activity continues to rise, experts say it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already. Aside from getting a flu shot, washing your hands correctly is one of the best things you can do to prevent the spread the of virus.


Next steps:

This year's CCTS conference acknowledges the significant challenges of translating knowledge into new interventions for individual and community health.

UK HealthCare modifies visitation policy for flu season

To help protect the health and well-being of patients and healthcare workers during this flu season, UK HealthCare has temporarily amended the inpatient hospital visitation policy. The temporary restriction on visitations goes into effect on Thursday, Feb. 16 and includes:

  • No visitors under the age of 12 (except in Bone Marrow Transplant, where no visitors under the age of 18).
  • No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness.
  • Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time.
  • Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting.
  • Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women’s and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.
  • Compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

This will continue for an undetermined amount of time as we monitor the presence of influenza in our communities.

We apologize for any disruption this may cause to your family time, but assure you that all of us at UK HealthCare are working to provide the very best care for your loved one in the safest environment possible. Please join with us in our effort to keep your loved one’s risk of exposure to a minimum.

If you have not already received a flu shot, we highly recommend that you and everyone in your household receive one. Please get one at your local pharmacy or primary care physician’s office.

Please remember that thorough and frequent handwashing is the best defense against the spread of disease.

Thank you for your understanding and please let us know if you have any questions.


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Cold or flu? It’s a question that comes up every winter. Knowing the subtle and not-so-subtle difference between the two illnesses, though, is important.

Is it a cold or the flu?

Cold or flu? Knowing the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the two is important, since seeking early treatment when you have the flu can shorten its duration and severity.

Key differences

Colds and flu have many of the same symptoms, but here are some differences:

  • Body aches. With flu, they are much more severe.
  • Stuffy/runny nose usually signals a cold. The same is true for sneezing.
  • With a cold, a cough usually creates yellow or green mucus. The flu tends to appear with a dry, unproductive cough.
  • Sore throat. Could be either cold or flu.
  • Nausea. A cold does not produce nausea (unless in cases of severe nasal drainage that upsets the stomach).
  • Fever. Usually signals the flu, particularly if it’s 100° or higher.
  • Chills and sweats. It’s the flu.
  • Onset of symptoms. A cold comes on over time. The flu makes a much more sudden appearance.

If you’re still unsure whether you have the flu or a cold, consider seeing your healthcare provider for a definitive diagnosis. Anti-viral medications are available to reduce the longevity and severity of the flu, if it’s caught early. Most colds can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Check with your pharmacist to choose the medications right for your specific symptoms.


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Handwashing and the flu

The 20-second flu fighter

Flu season is in full swing, but there a few simple ways to keep the virus at bay.

The best way is to get your flu shot and make sure those around you have gotten theirs, too. Check out our recent blog about what’s new with this year’s flu vaccine.

In addition to getting vaccinated, an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of the flu is to wash your hands.

When you wash your hands regularly and correctly, you reduce your risk of getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to other people around you.

Washing your hands the right way means more than running them under the faucet for a few seconds. Here’s how to do it:

  • Wet your hands with clean water (warm or cold), turn off the faucet and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” from beginning to end or recite the ABCs in your head.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them, and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and then throw it away.

Make sure to wash your hands:

  • Before you eat. Also wash them before, during and after preparing food.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • After coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or caring for someone who is ill.
  • After taking out the trash.
  • After petting animals.
  • When visiting someone who is sick.
  • Whenever your hands look or feel dirty.

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Flu season in Kentucky

Flu season in Kentucky has started. Here’s what you need to know.

Several cases of influenza have already been confirmed across the Commonwealth, marking the early arrival of flu season in Kentucky.

Here’s what you need to know about the flu this year.

Vaccines are necessary every year

Getting a flu shot every year is the single most effective way to prevent the flu. It’s safe and recommended for anyone 6 months or older.

Influenza viruses are constantly changing, which is why it’s important to get a shot at the start of every flu season. This year’s vaccine is updated to better protect against the flu viruses experts expect to circulate this season.

FluMist is no longer an option

Studies showed the nasal spray flu vaccine, or FluMist, was not effective in protecting against the flu last year, and it is no longer being produced. Although FluMist was often the preferred choice for children or those averse to needles, all individuals who can receive a flu shot should do so.

Help protect those around you

Receiving a flu vaccination helps keep those around you protected, too. If you live or care for infants too young to receive a vaccination, getting a flu shot will help protect them from the virus.

Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated, and be conscious of those in your life who are more susceptible to the virus. They include people older than 65, those with chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes, and pregnant women.


Next steps:

  • Shots are available from primary care doctors and many pharmacies. Check out the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Finder to find a flu vaccine clinic near you.
  • Members of the UK community can get a flu shot as part of University Health Service’s Big Flu Madness. See the student and campus employee flu shot schedule here and the UK HealthCare employee schedule here.