BOISE, Idaho — It's official--cold and flu season is underway across the U.S. The CDC says flu season is getting an early start with 30 states already reporting cases.
Dr. Adam Saperston serves as Medical Director for Blue Cross of Idaho. He says there are ways to tell the difference between a cold and the flu. First, they're caused by different viruses. Second, the flu makes people sicker through a higher fever--making someone feel more weak--and other symptoms. The flu can also continue to become worse, causing someone to develop pneumonia and and even in rare cases being fatal.
Dr. Saperston says the number one way to avoid catching the flu remains getting your flu vaccine.
"The flu shot is really the most effective way to prevent the flu. There is no other approach, and it's not too late," Dr. Saperston explains. "The flu season really peaks between December and March, and so this would be the perfect time to get the flu vaccine and not only do you help yourselves, but you're helping your family, your friends and your neighbors."
Other preventative measures Dr. Saperston suggests include making sure to practice good hygiene habits. That includes washing your hands, carrying a hand sanitizer with you and making sure to clean typically germ-covered hot spots in the house. That can be as simple as spraying door knobs and faucets in your home with hydrogen peroxide. Dr. Saperston says hydrogen peroxide breaks down into just water and oxygen, making it a safe cleaner to use everywhere.
If you or your children start to feel ill, you'll want to head to the doctor early. Dr. Saperston says if your child has a fever of 102.5 degrees or if they seem lethargic, that's when you want to go see a doctor. For adults, make your appointment if you have a high fever and don't seem to be getting any better.