Flu Season 101
 
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people across the world become sick with the flu.
 
Unfortunately, a percentage of those people die each year from the flu or secondary infections from the flu. Learn more about the flu and how to take measures to prevent it to stay healthy this cold and flu season.

General Flu Information

Influenza, which is commonly referred to as "the flu," is a respiratory virus that is caused by either a strain of influenza A or B. It is commonly confused with the cold because some of the symptoms are similar between the two viruses.
 
It is more common in the colder autumn and winter months and is extremely contagious.

Causes of the Flu

Experts believe that the flu spreads by droplets that form when people talk, sneeze or cough. These droplets can then be breathed in, enter the nose or be left on a surface that is touched by another person. These droplets can be spread up to six feet away when someone coughs or sneezes, making it very contagious.

Because people are contagious one day before symptoms show up and five to seven days after becoming initially ill, the virus can be spread before people know they are sick and after they think they are well. The virus can also be spread by people who don't become sick with the flu themselves but carry the virus.

Prevention

Getting the flu vaccine each year can help prevent the flu from being contracted. Because there are many different strains of the flu, the vaccine doesn't prevent against all types, so caution should still be taken. Frequent hand washing and avoiding being near those who are infected can help prevent the flu from being contracted.

Symptoms

Symptoms of the flu typically come on suddenly and include:

Fever
Chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Cough
Body aches
Tiredness (fatigue)
Headaches
In children, vomiting and/or diarrhea
 
Complications

Most people who develop the flu typically recover within three days to two weeks. Unfortunately, sometimes people develop complications that can become life-threatening. Bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections and pneumonia can all develop as a result of the flu.

Treatment

Because influenza is a viral infection, antibiotics won't help treat the flu. Antiviral medications are available, but as these medications are expensive and have a high-risk of side effects, they are typically only prescribed to those who are most susceptible to secondary complications. These medications must be taken within the first 48 hours in order to be effective.
 
Doctors typically recommend drinking plenty of fluids, getting rest and taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for fever and pain for most cases of the flu.

When flu season hits each year, emergency rooms become packed with those who are ill with the virus. Stay healthy this year by eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, receiving your flu vaccination and washing your hands frequently.
 
If you are experiencing complications, such as shortness of breath or rapid heart rate, go to the emergency room immediately in order to seek help.
 
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people across the world become sick with the flu.
 
Unfortunately, a percentage of those people die each year from the flu or secondary infections from the flu.


Learn more about the flu and how to take measures to prevent it to stay healthy this cold and flu season.

General Flu Information

Influenza, which is commonly referred to as "the flu," is a respiratory virus that is caused by either a strain of influenza A or B. It is commonly confused with the cold because some of the symptoms are similar between the two viruses.
 
It is more common in the colder autumn and winter months and is extremely contagious.

Causes of the Flu

Experts believe that the flu spreads by droplets that form when people talk, sneeze or cough. These droplets can then be breathed in, enter the nose or be left on a surface that is touched by another person. These droplets can be spread up to six feet away when someone coughs or sneezes, making it very contagious.

Because people are contagious one day before symptoms show up and five to seven days after becoming initially ill, the virus can be spread before people know they are sick and after they think they are well. The virus can also be spread by people who don't become sick with the flu themselves but carry the virus.

Prevention

Getting the flu vaccine each year can help prevent the flu from being contracted. Because there are many different strains of the flu, the vaccine doesn't prevent against all types, so caution should still be taken. Frequent hand washing and avoiding being near those who are infected can help prevent the flu from being contracted.

Symptoms

Symptoms of the flu typically come on suddenly and include:

Fever
Chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Cough
Body aches
Tiredness (fatigue)
Headaches
In children, vomiting and/or diarrhea
 
Complications

Most people who develop the flu typically recover within three days to two weeks. Unfortunately, sometimes people develop complications that can become life-threatening. Bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections and pneumonia can all develop as a result of the flu.

Treatment

Because influenza is a viral infection, antibiotics won't help treat the flu. Antiviral medications are available, but as these medications are expensive and have a high-risk of side effects, they are typically only prescribed to those who are most susceptible to secondary complications. These medications must be taken within the first 48 hours in order to be effective.
 
Doctors typically recommend drinking plenty of fluids, getting rest and taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for fever and pain for most cases of the flu.

When flu season hits each year, emergency rooms become packed with those who are ill with the virus. Stay healthy this year by eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, receiving your flu vaccination and washing your hands frequently.
 
If you are experiencing complications, such as shortness of breath or rapid heart rate, go to the emergency room immediately in order to seek help.