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Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.
Influenza or the "flu" is a very contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract (nose, throat, airways, & lungs). In many ways the flu is similar to a common cold although it is characterized by an abrupt onset & more severe symptoms.
The symptoms of the flu usually begin suddenly within 1-4 days of exposure. They include:
Symptoms, including fever, often last for 3-5 days, with milder symptoms, such s fatigue and cough, lasting for several weeks.
The influenza virus is very contagious & easily spread to others. Often, the virus is spread from tiny moisture droplets released into the air after a cough or sneeze. A person with the flu can continue to spread the virus for 3-4 days after symptoms begin. Exposure to the virus can happen in any setting where the droplets have been released.
It is important to remember that the flu is a VIRUS. Antibiotics have NO effect on the flu and their use, if unnecessary, can promote antibiotic resistance. Prescription antiviral medications have been shown to decrease the duration of severe flu symptoms (by about one day) if started within the first 48 hours of symptoms.
If your symptoms represent the flu & it is within the first 24-48 hours it is reasonable to see a provider. Otherwise following the symptomatic treatment above should lead to a full recovery. In some cases, complications may arise, including pneumonia, bacterial sinus & ear infections, & worsening of underlying medical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes.
For more information on the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control website or contact the Health and Wellness Center at 395-2102 if you suspect you have the flu and need to make an appointment. Or contact your local provider.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that the following priority groups receive a flu shot
Source: CDC www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5434a4.htm