Influenza or the flu is a common, infectious respiratory disease that begins in your nose and throat. It is highly contagious and spreads rapidly from person to person.
Your Flu Season Toolkit
The flu makes you feel miserable. The flu typically starts with a headache, chills and cough, followed rapidly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children.
Usually, you will have a high fever that lasts for 3-4 days, a headache and muscle aches, extreme fatigue that may last 2-3 weeks, and a bad cough. Most people recover within a week to 10 days. If your symptoms do not improve, see your doctor; you may be suffering from serious complications of the flu.
If you get the flu, you should increase the amount of fluids you drink (water, juice, soup) and get plenty of rest for seven to ten days.The aches and fever can be treated with acetaminophen. Children should not be given ASA, commonly known as Aspirin, because of the risk of Reye's syndrome.
There are also drugs prescribed by doctors, which are called antivirals. These can be effective in reducing the symptoms of the flu. But you must take them within 48 hours of getting the flu symptoms. You will need to go to a doctor to see if you do have the flu and to get a prescription. Antibiotics have no effect against a viral illness like the flu.
Stay home from work if you're sick and keep your children home from school when they have cold or flu symptoms. If you go out when you're sick, you may spread your illness to co-workers, classmates, neighbours or others. It may take you longer to get better if you are not well rested. Wait until you no longer have a fever and your cough is improving.
The influenza virus spreads quickly from person to person through droplets in the air. These droplets come from our noses and mouths when we cough or sneeze, so cover your mouth with a tissue or raise your arm up to your face to cough or sneeze into your sleeve. If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands immediately.