It’s been a rough flu season, with lots of people falling ill, and sadly, dying from this very serious virus. Though it comes around annually, some years it seems to be more persistent and dangerous than others, and this season happens to be that kind.

Now whether you believe in conventional or traditional ways of preventing and treating the influenza virus, that’s totally up to you. There are however some things, regardless of treatment beliefs that we should all be privy to in order to prevent contamination and or overcome the virus.

Here is some basic, need to know information regarding the influenza virus.


What is the flu?

The flu is an illness caused by flu viruses.


What are the signs of the flu?

Cough , sore throat , fever, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue more than usual, body aches, chills, headache and not feeling well. Two less more common signs include vomiting, diarrhea.


When is the flu most common and who can become infected?

The flu happens every year and is more common in the fall and winter. In the U.S. people of all ages can get the flu, from babies and young adults, to the elderly.


How does the flu spread?

Infected people spread the virus by coughing , sneezing or talking ( Droplets) that land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or inhaled into the lungs. People may also catch the flu by touching their mouth or nose after touching something with the virus on it, such as doorknobs, tables, or an infected person’s dirty hand.


How sick do people get with the flu?

Some people get very sick and others do not. Most people who get sick get better without seeing a doctor or taking medicine. However, some people can get very sick from the flu and can die. Many of the people who get very sick are older than 65 years or have a medical condition such as: diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or kidney disease, or are pregnant. Children younger than 5 years of age are also at greater risk.


How long can a person with the flu spread the virus to other people?

Most people may be able to spread the flu from 1 day before showing symptoms to 5 to 7 days after symptoms begin. Severely ill persons or young children may be able to spread the flu longer.


What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these steps to fight the flu:

– Vaccination

– Stay away from people who are sick

– Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub.

– Use medication the way your doctor recommends it.


Christie Waterman

Christie Waterman is a family nurse practitioner and entrepreneur from Maryland.

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