The muscle aches. The fever. The tiredness. No one likes having the flu. If you do catch the bug, it’s important to know how to care for yourself. It’s also important to learn how the flu virus spreads and how it can be prevented.




“The influenza virus, more commonly known as the flu, is contagious and usually spreads through the air, by coughing, sneezing, talking or touching a contaminated surface,” said Asisat Ope, M.D., board-certified primary care physician with Houston Methodist Primary Care Group in Sugar Land.


People who catch the flu have different symptoms, but many complain of a fever, cough, muscle aches, headache and sore throat. Some adults feel better in a week or two, while others, including small children, the elderly and the chronically ill, may have a harder time recovering.




You can help guard yourself against the flu. “The best methods are getting a yearly flu vaccination and keeping your immune system healthy,” Ope said.


Get a flu shot. A flu shot can lower your risk of catching the virus. It’s best to get the shot by the end of October, before the flu season reaches its height. A flu shot is especially important for people at high risk for flu complications, including adults age 65 or older, children younger than age five, pregnant women and those with chronic health problems.


Steer clear of germs. Unfortunately, sick people don’t always keep their germs at home. You can help keep yourself flu-free by washing your hands frequently and following a healthy lifestyle. Carry hand sanitizer with you in case you can’t wash your hands right away after being around those who are showing signs of being sick. You may also want to use disinfecting wipes to wipe down surfaces or shopping carts when you’re out and about.


If you do get the flu, drink plenty of fluids. Your doctor can prescribe antiviral drugs that may make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick if you go in right away.


If you have questions about the flu shot, talk to your doctor. To schedule an appointment with Asisat Ope, M.D. or another primary care physician at Houston Methodist Primary Care Group, visit or call 832.416.1678.