Influenza (the flu)



Influenza (the flu) is a virus that causes upper and lower respiratory tract infection. Recovery usually takes seven 7 to 10 days. Complications sometimes develop, including viral pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia and death.

The flu spreads easily from person to person. The elderly and children are more vulnerable.


People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills 
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.


The flu can be can be spread one (1) day before symptoms appear and five 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. 

It is spread when tiny droplets expelled through sneezing, coughing our talking make it into the mouths or noses of those nearby.


The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu shot. It is recommended for those six (6) months of age and older.

The flu vaccine will protect against flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season.


Certain people are at greater risk for complications if they get the flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease).

Complications of flu can include:

  • bacterial pneumonia
  • ear infections
  • sinus infections
  • dehydration
  • worsening of chronic medical conditions, like congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes

Managing at Home

Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Wash your hands and clean common areas often. Stay away from crowds and other people to avoid spreading the infection.

See your family doctor if you have concerns. If serious complication arise like confusion, pain or pressure in the chest, seek emergency care or call 911.

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