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Dr. Emily Hill Bowman
Boys Town Internal Medicine


Dr. Hill Bowman explains what the flu is, the symptoms, and how to treat it.

If you suspect you have influenza, symptoms are slightly different than a viral illness. So it’s a very sudden onset. Fevers, chills, body aches, headache and cough, so symptoms start suddenly. So if you feel like you got hit by a truck with these symptoms, that’s the time to call your doctor’s office.

The flu lasts usually a little bit longer than other viral illnesses, so maybe up to a week or a little bit longer. Typically we want to see you earlier on if we suspect influenza because we use the medication to treat influenza called Tamiflu. If you’ve had symptoms within the last two days, so a lot of times if you wait, then we cannot use that medication for treatment.

There’s a lot of things that you can do to try to prevent the spread of influenza and other viral illnesses. One of the best things that you can do is wash your hands especially after you come in contact with somebody who has symptoms of the flu or virus. Other things that you can do is if you are sick or if you know someone who is sick, you should stay home from work and not spread the virus. Ways that you can spread the virus, it’s through your secretions, so through sneezing, runny nose, and cough and so it is always important to cover your nose when you sneeze and when you cough.

Also something that is very important is to get the flu shot every year.

Some adults can get sicker with the flu compared to kids but how I look at it is if you have a lot of other medical conditions, if you have issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease, sometimes that can have the flu affect you to a more of an extent. For patients over 65 we actually give them a higher dose of the flu vaccine because that’s been provided to give more benefit.

The flu or Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Dr. Hill Bowman, an Internist with Boys Town Internal Medicine, explains the importance of the flu vaccine and offers some additional tips on how to prevent getting the flu this season.