Quick Testing Helps You Find Out If It's the Flu
Influenza (or the flu) spreads every year, despite your best efforts to avoid it. Some treatments can help shorten the duration of illness if you test positive within 48 hours of experiencing symptoms.
At Bayside Urgent Care Center in Clearwater, Florida, we provide rapid flu tests so you can find out within 15 minutes if you have the virus.
We are located in Clearwater, Florida, and we're always accepting new patients. No appointments are necessary.
What Causes the Flu?
The flu is a contagious disease caused by the influenza viruses and infects the nose, throat, and lungs. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, they send the virus into the air. Nearby people can breathe it in through their mouths or noses.
While the flu most often occurs during the winter months, it can happen anytime during the year.
Who is at Greatest Risk for the Flu?
Anyone can catch the flu; however, the following groups of people run a higher risk of becoming sicker from the virus because they have weakened immune systems:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease and stroke, and diabetes
- Young children under the age of 5
- Children with neurological conditions
- People with cancer
What are the Symptoms of the Flu?
Most people who get sick with the flu experience mild symptoms. The most common of these symptoms are:
- Body aches
- Decreased appetite
- Nasal congestion and runny nose
- Sore throat
- Cough and other respiratory symptoms
Less common symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. Once you come into contact with the flu virus, it usually takes about 24-48 hours (the incubation period) until you may notice symptoms. You can spread the flu for seven days after you experience symptoms.
What is the Rapid Flu Test?
The most common test for detecting the flu is nasal cultures. When the practitioner collects the culture, they insert the swab and run it along the back of your nose to get a mucus sample. Then they run the rapid test on the sample, which takes about 15 minutes while you wait. In addition to the rapid flu test, we will also perform a physical exam to check your vital signs, heart, lungs, ears, nose, and throat, among others.
How is the Flu Treated?
If you are diagnosed early (within 48 hours after symptoms show up), specific medication like Tamiflu can help ease your symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness by a few days. Unfortunately, after the first two days, these meds won't do as much for you.
Also, since the flu is a viral infection, you should not take antibiotics. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections and do not affect viruses.
With most cases of the flu, give your body time to let the illness run its course. You may find that over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen can provide some relief. Before taking medication, check with Bayside Urgent Care or with your doctor.
How Long Does the Flu Last?
Usually, the flu lasts 3 to 7 days, but it can sometimes persist longer than a week. Young children and the elderly tend to experience more severe symptoms and can take longer to recover. This population can also be more susceptible to complications such as pneumonia and dehydration.
How to Avoid Getting the Flu
The best way to avoid the flu or any viral illness is to wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or longer with soap and warm water. The following are other preventative steps you can take:
- Eat healthily, get plenty of rest, and exercise regularly.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Disinfect and clean frequently used surfaces and objects.
- Stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other essentials.
- Take flu antiviral drugs as prescribed by your healthcare professional.
We also recommend getting the flu vaccine that is available every September through November at pharmacies, doctors' offices, and clinics. While the vaccine won't protect you from every strain of the virus, it can help decrease the severity of flu symptoms if you contract the virus.
Does Bayside Urgent Care Accept Insurance?
Yes. We accept Medicare and most major insurance carriers. If you are underinsured, uninsured, or prefer to pay out-of-pocket, our services are reasonably priced, and we offer flexible payment plans.
Rely on Bayside Urgent Care Center When You are Sick!
Our center is located in Clearwater, Florida, conveniently situated to Largo, Belleair, Dunedin, Indian Rocks Beach, and Tampa. If you are experiencing symptoms detailed above, visit our office or call.
*Urgent care is not a substitute for emergency care. Always head to the nearest emergency room or call 911 if you are experiencing very serious or life-threatening problems. Read What is Urgent Care for more information.