Each year, the height of flu season falls squarely within the middle of winter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity generally begins to increase in October and then peaks between December and February. DispatchHealth—a leading in-home healthcare provider—understands how important it is to avoid spreading the flu and is taking steps to help patients do so.
What Is the Flu?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that’s caused by the influenza viruses (there are three types of influenza viruses—A, B, and C—that have been shown to affect humans). Symptoms include:
- Congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea (these are more common in children)
Although anyone can contract the flu, certain individuals are particularly vulnerable to developing complications, including those under age 5 or over age 65, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
How Is the Flu Spread?
The flu is generally spread through airborne droplets containing the virus. When someone coughs, sneezes, or even talks, they produce droplets that can travel up to six feet away from them. If another person is nearby, the droplets could land in their nose or mouth or be inhaled into their lungs, thereby infecting them as well.
The flu can also spread via contaminated surfaces. Flu viruses can remain active for hours or even days after being expelled from the body, especially if they land on a hard surface rather than a soft one. So, if someone touches a contaminated object and then touches their own eyes, nose, or mouth, they could also become infected.
When Is the Flu Contagious?
According to the CDC, an otherwise healthy person who contracts the flu can spread the virus from one day before developing symptoms until five to seven days after becoming sick (this period can be even longer for children and those with a weakened immune system). Notably, someone who’s infected with the flu can spread the virus to others even if they don’t experience any symptoms themselves.
How DispatchHealth Helps to Minimize Flu Spread
Considering that the flu is typically spread through airborne droplets, it’s important to avoid person-to-person contact if you think you might be infected. But how will you receive the care you need without leaving the house? That’s where DispatchHealth comes in. We travel to patients’ residences to provide them with flu treatment at home, allowing them to get the care they require without having to expose other members of the community to the virus.
Our healthcare teams consist of two providers—a medical technician and either a physician assistant or nurse practitioner—and an ER physician is always available by phone, if needed. While you wait for us to arrive at your home, you can relax in bed or on the couch rather than in a waiting room where you could potentially spread germs to other patients. Once we get there, we’ll perform any necessary diagnostic testing—we proudly offer rapid flu tests—and begin administering treatment.
You don’t need to worry about our teams contracting the flu or passing it along to others, either. We take all the precautions necessary to protect our patients and team members, including:
- Wearing protective eyewear, surgical masks, and gloves to each visit (we also wear N95 respirator masks, gowns, and shoe covers if a patient has COVID-19 or is experiencing respiratory symptoms)
- Wiping down our kits before and after each visit and between shifts
- Disinfecting our cars before and after each visit and between shifts
Request a Visit
If you or a loved one is experiencing flu symptoms and would like to avoid spreading the virus to others, request a visit from DispatchHealth today. Once you’ve scheduled an appointment by phone or through our website, we’ll arrive within just a few hours and begin administering care. We’re in-network with most health insurance plans, and if you don’t have insurance, you’ll be glad to know that we offer a $275 flat rate that covers everything we do, including on-site lab testing and procedures as well as any medications we administer.
* Please note: For life-threatening and time-sensitive injuries and illnesses, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. DispatchHealth shouldn’t be used in a life-threatening emergency and doesn’t replace a primary care provider.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article: