Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness with mild to severe symptoms. Flu can cause serious complications especially for those most at risk.
What causes flu?
Flu is caused by influenza viruses. Flu is contagious and spreads through coughs and sneezes, up to six feet away and infected droplets can survive on surfaces that can be spread by touching the surface and then the face.
What are symptoms of flu?
Flu lasts one to two weeks. The most common symptoms include the abrupt onset of:
- Fatigue, or tiredness
- Cough and sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Stomach problems such as pain, nausea and diarrhea
Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body, meaning most healthy adults may be able to infect other people before symptoms develop.
Did you know you are also likely to spread the virus for up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick?
This means you may be able to pass the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
It’s even likely people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms at all! If someone in your home, office or gym is infected you have an increased chance of becoming sick…unless you received your flu shot.Get Your Annual Flu Shot
How is flu treated?
Prescription antiviral drugs can shorten the duration of the flu. You can treat symptoms with over-the-counter medications.
Anyone can succumb to the flu, and symptoms can lead to serious complications, time in the hospital or even death. The single best way to protect you and your family against the flu is to receive an influenza vaccine this time of year on an annual basis.
How is flu prevented?
Preventing the flu virus can be difficult since it's so easily spread by droplets when those with the flu cough, sneeze or talk.
When these droplets are in the air, they can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It’s possible a person can even get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touch their own nose or mouth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, vaccine experts recently agreed that everyone over the age of six months should be vaccinated to prevent major outbreaks.While getting the flu vaccine is one of the most effective ways for everyone to stay clear of the virus, it is especially important that:
- Children over the six months old
- The elderly
- Pregnant women
- People who work in health care
- Those with certain chronic health problems
- Those with weak immune systems
The flu virus is easily transmitted through close contact with an infected person, which includes – you guessed it – dirty hands.
Similarly, if you do get sick, covering your mouth and your nose with a tissue rather than with your bare hands will keep others from getting sick.
Don’t forget to wash those hands after coughing into them.
CareNow® Can Help
If you think you or your child may have the flu, visit a CareNow® urgent care clinic for diagnosis and treatment. We also provide your annual flu shot in order to help prevent flu illnesses.
Walk-in's area always welcome!Find a CareNow® clinic near you