Influenza (flu) is a serious disease of the nose, throat and lungs that can lead to pneumonia.
Each year about 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized and about 36,000 die because of the flu. The flu is spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. This happens when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. It also spreads when a person touches another person or object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s mouth or nose) before washing their hands.
- Fever (usually high)
- Extreme tiredness
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does one prevent the Flu?
- A yearly flu vaccine.
- Take everyday preventative actions
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol based cleaners.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get the flu, stay home to keep from infecting others.
- Take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
When is the best time to receive the Flu Vaccine?
- October or November are the best time.
- December or later is still beneficial in most years as influenza can occur any time from November through May, but it most often peaks in January or February.
- It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the shot.
- Protection last up to a year.
Individuals who are moderately or severely ill should wait until they recover before receiving the flu vaccine. Individuals with a mild illness can usually receive the vaccine.
Who should NOT receive the vaccine?
- Allergy to eggs: Individual with a severe allergy should not receive the vaccine.
- Individuals with Guillain- Barre Syndrome: You may be able to get the vaccine but check with your doctor first.
- Severe allergy to any component of the vaccine.
What are the risks from the flu vaccine?
- Mild problems: soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, fever, aches. If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.
- Severe problems: signs of serious reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, a fast heart beat or dizziness. Life-threatening allergic reactions from teh vaccines are very rare. If the do occur, it is usually within minutes to a few hours of the shot. If this occurs, seek medical treatment immediately!
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