What is the flu?
The flu is an infection that is caused by viruses. The medical term for the flu is "influenza."
There are different type of flu, the most common type of flu is the "seasonal" flu. Besides seasonal flu, there is also the "swine" flu and the bird flu. Bird flu ("avian flu") is a severe form of the flu that is caused by a type of flu virus that first infected birds.
What are the flu symptoms?
Symptoms of flu can come on very suddenly.
Common symptoms of flu:
Fever (temperature higher than 100ºF or 37.8ºC)
Headache or body aches
Serious symptoms of flu in adults:
Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
Chest pain or heaviness of chest or belly
Most people with the flu get better on their own within 1 to 2 weeks. But some people can develop serious symptoms and need to go to the hospital. Flu can cause a serious lung infection called pneumonia.
People at higher risk of getting very sick from the flu include:
People 65 or older
Very young children
People with certain other medical problems
How to protect yourself from the flu?
Wash hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol hand rubs
Stay away from people who are sick
Get the flu vaccine every year – it helps prevent some cases of the flu. It can also help keep from getting severely ill if you do get the flu. It is important that people with higher risk should get flu vaccine every year.
What to do if you get flu?
If you think you have the flu, stay home, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. You can also take acetaminophen to relieve fever and aches.
You can wear mask to reduce the chances of spreading your infection. Also, always cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
Do not go to work until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without taking medicine such as acetaminophen.
Most people get better in few days. If you are not improving or developing serious symptoms, you should contact your doctor.