HAZLET, NJ:  Influenza, better known as the flu, is not like the common cold.  It often feels worse, lasts longer and is potentially deadly to the elderly, young and those with chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

According to the CDC, last year's flu season lasted 21 weeks, making it the longest in a decade. Health officials cannot estimate how long this year's flu season will last or how bad it will be. Each flu season is different but it usually starts in October, peaks between December and February, and lasts as late as May.

So, what do you do? 

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TAPinto asked Dr. Brendan Mulholland for his advice regarding prevention and treatment of the flu. 

Dr. Mulholland commented, “The importance of the Influenza Vaccine cannot be understated.  Thousands of lives are saved yearly due to the vaccine, and this is especially true for sick children and the elderly. It’s also important for healthy individuals to help contain the spread of the illness.”

Dr. Brendan Mulholland provided the following advice: 

How to prevent getting the flu 

  • Get your flu shot. If you have not received your flu shot you can stop by Hazlet Urgent Care, located at 3253 Route 35 North, Hazlet, NJ 07730. The phone number is 732.888.7646. This is a walk-in medical center, no appointment is needed. Hours are M-F: 8am-8pm and Wknds: 8am-6pm. 
  • After the flu shot, key to prevention is frequent hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizer.

So, what to do if you have the flu? 

  • The number one flu treatment is rest.
  • Number two is quarantine.  If you have the flu, you must stay away from others until your symptoms resolve.  You do not want to be responsible for someone’s illness or death.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Although Tamiflu is often prescribed for the flu, research has shown that it is only modestly helpful.  It will not cure you, but it may lessen the duration of symptoms by a day. It is more helpful in preventing the spread of flu in an outbreak. Antibiotics are useless against the flu.  They may be prescribed for secondary infections like pneumonia.
  • Symptom control can be helped by Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil) and other over the counter medications.
  • If you get the flu, containing your sneezes and tissues will protect those around you.  Hand washing or sanitizing also goes a long way to limit the spread of the Flu. 

You should seek medical help if your fever and other symptoms do not improve.

Information courtesy of Dr. Brendan Mulholland and Hazlet Urgent Care, part of IMA - Integrated Medicine Alliance http://imamd.com

Integrated Medicine Alliance is a medical “group-without-walls”, made up of nearly 40 dedicated healthcare providers who have joined together to offer even better care to patients in Monmouth County. IMA is comprised of six primary care practices, a diagnostic center, and three urgent care centers located in Middletown, Shrewsbury and Hazlet.