The seasonal flu is a virus-caused respiratory infection of the nose, throat, and occasionally the lungs. It is commonly spread through talking, sneezing, and coughing. While the majority of flu cases cause only mild to moderate symptoms, older people, young children, and those with other health concerns are at a higher risk of developing severe flu.— and even needing to be hospitalized.
Our cold and flu season starts in the fall and continues until the end of winter. Between December and February, the flu typically "peaks," or has the highest rate of infections, hospitalizations, and even deaths. You can help protect yourself from getting the flu and spreading it to those you care about by taking a few simple steps.
The flu virus, like other viruses, has several variants. The most common variants you may hear about in the news are type A (H1N1 and H3N2) and type B (H3N2). Each of these variants is part of a seasonal flu epidemic during the winter months.
Flu symptoms include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, and a headache. The flu, like other illnesses, can make you tired. Vomiting and diarrhoea are more common in children, but they can occur in adults as well.
People are frequently confused about whether they have the flu or a cold. While the symptoms are similar, flu symptoms usually appear suddenly. Body aches are another telltale sign that you have the flu.
While most people will begin to feel better within a week, complications and becoming even sicker are possible. People who already have medical problems, such as asthma or chronic heart disease, may see their conditions worsen. Others may develop sinus or ear infections, as well as pneumonia. Some can even have serious or even fatal complications.
Stay at home if you are ill. To avoid spreading germs, avoid close contact with others, wash your hands frequently, and clean everything you touch. Most people with the flu will only have mild symptoms and may not require medical attention.
Those who are pregnant, 65 or older, or under the age of 5, or who have a chronic health condition should contact their doctor if symptoms arise. Furthermore, if you are feeling worse than you think you should or are concerned about how sick you are, you should contact your doctor. We have several options for you if you want to speak with a doctor or make an appointment.
Most people will benefit from staying at home and resting if they have the flu. If you are more likely to develop severe symptoms (for example, if you are pregnant, 65 or older, or have a chronic health condition), your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help reduce the length and severity of your illness. These treatments are more effective earlier in the illness, so consult your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms.
To avoid spreading the virus, stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after your fever has subsided on its own. To help keep you comfortable, you can take an over-the-counter fever-reducing medication like acetaminophen.
To protect both mom and baby, pregnant women should get a flu vaccine by injection (a shot) during any trimester of their pregnancy. The nasal spray vaccine is not advised for pregnant women.
The seasonal flu vaccine is administered via injection (shot) or nasal spray. However, the nasal spray version is not for everyone, so consult your doctor or pharmacist to determine what is best for you.
Some people may experience minor side effects. The most common are soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given, low-grade fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue. Flu shots, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting. Reduce swelling around the injection site with ice for the first few days, then switch to warm compresses. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve any other pain or discomfort.
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