(BPT) - In the middle of winter, snowstorms and severe weather might be top of mind, but when was the last time you thought about the flu? Are you one of the many individuals who don't think the flu is serious until you experience it firsthand?
Those who have had the flu before were significantly more likely to be concerned about flu season versus those who never had it, according to a recent national survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). The survey also found that while U.S. adults are more concerned about flu this season compared to the 2011-12 season, few take actions to protect against and fight the flu. Among those surveyed, 41 percent receive an annual flu vaccine only after flu hits their local area.
"All individuals should prepare for the possibility of flu. If people wait to get vaccinated until after flu is in their community, it may not be adequate because flu antibodies take two weeks to develop following vaccination," says Dr. Susan J. Rehm, NFID medical director. "If you do get sick and think it may be the flu, contact a healthcare professional right away. There are rapid flu tests available and prescription flu medicines that can help shorten the time you are sick with flu if taken within the first 48 hours of symptoms."
Rehm suggests people know the Flu F.A.C.T.S. to distinguish symptoms from other circulating viruses, including the common cold:
"When warnings are issued about the weather, it's common to stock up on supplies, but when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announce a severe flu season, people may not have the same mindset about taking action," says Marysol Castro, a nationally recognized weather forecaster. "Flu is a virus which spreads from person to person, much like weather patterns move from state to state. You can learn more about the incidence of flu in your area by using trackers on FluFACTS.com or nfid.org."
For more information on how to fight flu every season, view the CDC "Take 3" Actions to Fight the Flu (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm). Get involved and promote healthy behaviors by sharing the NFID #FightFlu memes available at nfid.org/flu-memes on your social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.