What is the flu?
- Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a viral respiratory infection.
- There are a number of different strains of flu.
- It is estimated that 10 – 20 % of Americans will contract the flu each year.
- The typical flu season lasts from November to March.
- The flu almost never causes symptoms in the stomach. When someone says (s)he has the stomach flu, it is not influenza.
- Symptoms usually begin 1 – 4 days after you have become infected with the flu.
- You can spread the flu before you even know you have it.
- You continue to be contagious for 3 – 4 days after your symptoms begin.
- Body aches
- Dry cough
- Fever (usually 102 – 104 F)
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
- Most of the time people are diagnosed with influenza based on symptoms.
- There is a laboratory test that can be done by your primary care physician or walk-in if it is necessary.
- The flu vaccine that is available in the fall can help prevent or minimize an episode of the flu.
- Support your immune system by eating healthy foods and getting enough rest.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid areas where there are people who are ill. Don’t go hang out with a group of friends who all have the flu.
- Take over the counter medicines like Tylenol or Advil to help ease your discomfort.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- There are some anti-viral medicines that can be taken to promote your recovery. Antibiotics will not be helpful in recovering from the flu.
Is it a cold or the flu?
|Fever||Mild||Usually high,102–104; lasts 3–4 days|
|Body aches||Mild||Often Severe|
|Fatigue, weakness||Mild||Usual, lasts up to 2 – 3 weeks|
|Extreme exhaustion||Never||Prominent early|
|Cough||Hacking, productive cough||Dry, unproductive cough|