When can you go back to work or school if you have the flu?


While battling the flu, your body needs couch time to rest and recover. After a few days, maybe you are getting very bored with day time TV and eager to get back into your routine.

But colds and the flu are very contagious and it’s important not to rush going back to school and work.

This year is a particularly harsh flu season

Here’s some guidelines on how long you should stay home:

How long to stay to home

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (except to get medical care or other necessities). Your fever should be gone for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol. You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

Check with your child's daycare or school before sending your child back. Many have rules and it’s generally at least a full day after they don't have any fever without medication. 

How long is a person with the flu contagious? 

In general, about a week. People with the flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. However, children and people with weakened immune systems can infect others for longer periods of time, especially if they still have symptoms.  

What should you do while while sick:  

If you do get sick and think you may have the flu, contact your health care provider right away, particularly if you or family members are at high risk for serious flu complications — young children (under the age of 5), those over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or asthma. Even young, healthy adults should call their doctor if symptoms don’t improve or get worse after three to four days of illness. There are antivirals such as Tamiflu or Relenza that can help treat the flu, but the medication needs to be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms to be most effective.

Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a face mask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.

In many cases, the flu can be treated at home unless symptoms are severe. Because the flu is a virus, it needs to run its course, which means lots of TLC and rest.

What you need to know about this year’s flu season:

The flu season is getting worse in Georgia and most the country. During the fourth week of the year which runs Jan. 21 through Jan. 27., there were 120 hospitalizations in metro Atlanta due to influenza, up from 115 hospitalizations during the previous week.

There has also been a total of 51 confirmed influenza-related deaths in Georgia this flu season, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. That is up from a total of 25 last week. The 51 people who died includes the following: one child; 7 people between the ages of 18 and 51; 7 people between the ages of 51 and 64 and 36 people over the age of 65.

MORE: How to protect your family from the flu at school, work

There are steps you and your family can to take to avoid getting and spreading the flu. Common sense flu prevention techniques really make a difference. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water. (If water is not available, alcohol-based gels are the next best thing.) If you are sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow or a tissue that is then discarded.

If you have not gotten the flu shot, it’s not too late. While getting a vaccine earlier in the season is better, there is still a lot of the season to go and vaccination now could still provide some benefit. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection

MORE: Have the flu? Atlanta archbishop advises ill Catholics to skip Mass

MORE: 8 things you need to know about this year’s really bad flu season   

READ: The agony of ER waits: Flu season is making them worse 

READ: Father of Coweta teen who died of flu asks, “Why?”

Click this link to check out the wait times: https://hospitals.myajc.com/ 

 


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