Facts about the Flu

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1/31/2008

You may wonder if the runny nose and sore throat you have are from a common cold or the flu. Here are some facts about the flu.

What Is the Flu and How Do You Contract it?

• The flu is a contagious virus that is spread from one person to another through tiny droplets that are released into the air when a person infected with the flu coughs or sneezes. Less commonly, one can become infected by touching their nose or mouth after touching something infected by the flu virus.

• One can infect others one day before the infected person experiences the symptoms and up to five days after they become sick.

• The flu usually arrives in the winter months.

What Are the Common Symptoms of the Flu and How Long Does It Last?

• The flu begins suddenly, often with a fever. Children tend to run higher temperatures, as high as 103 to 105 degrees.

• Other common symptoms include body aches, chills, headache, a dry cough, sore throat, and extreme tiredness. Diarrhea and vomiting may occur in children, but are rare in adults.

• In most individuals, the flu goes away within 7 to 10 days.

What Should I Do to Treat My Flu Symptoms?

• Rest. Get more sleep to help your body fight the infection.

• Drink plenty of liquids. The best fluids to drink include water, juices and warm soups.

• Take medicines that relieve symptoms. Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others). Talk to your doctor before giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen to your child.

• Avoid aspirin. Do not give aspirin to your child or teen because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease.

• Avoid alcohol and tobacco.

If you wish to find out more information on how to prevent contracting the flu, if you have it or how best to treat it, please contact your doctor.