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The fall season is officially here and so are cases of the flu. If you haven’t already gotten your flu shot for the 2018/2019 flu season, now is the time to get that done. Commonly known as the flu, influenza is a disease that is both serious and potentially lethal, resulting in major potential health complications which can ultimately lead to death.

One thing you may know by now is that the flu virus mutates all the time so it can affect you differently than it might your relative, spouse, or friend. But the best protection you have against this virus and its effects are getting your annual flu shot. The shot works its medicinal magic by making your body form antibodies, which typically occurs around two weeks from the day you had your shot. Thanks to these antibodies, you essentially will have created a protective shield against the virus. This is particularly important when it comes to protecting children and senior citizens who are most susceptible to the devastating effects of influenza.

Now, because the weather is changing and as temperatures begin dropping, more and more people spend time indoors. Whether it’s your home or office, the more time you spend in proximity to others, the more exposed you are to their germs. And if someone in your family or work circle has been exposed to the flu virus, you are at increased risk for contracting the flu. If you happen to live in a big city, an influenza outbreak in your region can potentially spread like wildfire.

If you feel you have been exposed you can have an influenza test done when your symptoms first start to manifest. In the early stages, you may exhibit weakness, a fever, severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles and also around your eyes. You can also have flushed skin, red, watery eyes, a sore throat, increased nasal discharge, and a headache that just gets worse.

If you are presenting these flu-like symptoms, Dr. Abroon may advise getting tested for influenza A & B with our rapid flu test. This test is quick and the results are ready in around 20 minutes. We might take a swab of your throat or nasal passageway or conduct a bronchial wash, an aspirate or wash test. No matter which form of testing Dr. Abroon feels is most appropriate for your situation, he will explain the process beforehand so you will know what to expect.

After the testing, your sample will be sent to a lab to run diagnostics. If you want to have the regular influenza testing, the results will be in within 24 hours. One thing to remember though is that you need to be tested within 48 hours of manifesting your symptoms. Your results will tell our doctor which virus you have and indicate what treatment you will need as well as which vaccine. Our goal is to treat the condition as quickly as possible. If you have complications accompanying your symptoms, for example, such as an existing medical condition, Dr. Aboon may refer you to a specialist for additional treatment.

Remember, one of the best ways you can avoid the flu this season is having the flu shot. We are happy to assist you with this so that you may avoid the flu, or if you do catch the virus, recovering quickly and avoiding the worst of the symptoms. So if you are in the New York City area, we invite you to call us at (212) 288-0900 to schedule your vaccination. If you are already presenting flu-like symptoms, we highly recommend coming in for the rapid influenza test at Dr. Abroon’s Clinic on the Upper East Side. We look forward to helping you sail through the flu season this year as smoothly as possible!