Influenza, or “the flu,” is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs which lowers the body’s ability to fight other infections.
Fight the flu!
Most healthy people can recover from the flu without severe complications. For some people, especially those with pre-existing conditions, it can be more serious and lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, or other major health problems. Getting the annual flu vaccination is quick, and helps reduce your risk of contracting influenza.
Wash your hands
If you have not been immunized against the flu this year, there are still many things you can do to avoid contracting it. Handwashing is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of disease. Wash your hands well and often (scrub with soap long enough to say the alphabet). Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not into your hand or open air. Get plenty of rest, eat well, and exercise regularly. Stay home when you are sick. These Flu Decision Making Charts will help you decide who to call and where to go if you or your child has the flu.
How does the flu spread?
When an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes, or touches a surface without washing their hands, the virus can be passed to others. People develop flu symptoms between one and three days after becoming infected. They are contagious from the day they have the first symptoms until five days after the symptoms start. Often the onset of symptoms is abrupt enough that people can remember precisely when it started.
What are the symptoms?
- Sudden fever of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher
- Dry cough
- Muscle aches
- Physical weakness and fatigue
- Other symptoms include: chills, loss of appetite, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose.
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