Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by a virus that occurs in epidemics, most often in the winter months. (www.nj.gov/health/flu/index.shtml)
What are common symptoms?
- General body aches
- Extreme fatigue
- High fever over 101 (generally subsides in 2-3 days, but can last up to a week)
- Cough, sneezing, running nose
- Sore throat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor appetite.
Is it contagious?
It is highly contagious, which is why it usually occurs in epidemics. Prevent the spread of germs by frequently washing hands and covering your mouth when you cough. Don’t share eating utensils or drinks and avoid close bodily contact.
How long will it last?
Uncomplicated cases usually last about one week, but it’s not unusual for it to last up to three weeks.
What do I do if I have the flu?
- Bed rest
- Force fluids (important to keep temperature down)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 650mg every four hours or Ibuprofen (Advil) 400mg every four to six hours (unless you are unable to take these medications)
- Humidify the air (vaporizer or pans of water in the room)
- Don’t “sweat it out” (will cause temperature to go up).
- For nausea try a bland diet; small, frequent meals (toast, crackers, jello).
- For throat pain, gargle with warm salt water; use lozenges and hard candy.
- For runny nose and congestion, use decongestants (unless you are unable to take these medications)
- NO ASPIRIN.
Contact your health care provider or health services if the following symptoms occur:
- Shortness of breath.
- Fever over 102 degrees
- Sudden deterioration in your condition
- Cough with blood-tinged mucous
- Development of new symptoms or symptoms that are prolonged
The flu is caused by a virus. Antibiotics are ineffective, except when there is also a bacterial infection present.
Prevent the spread of germs during flu season:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze – and throw the tissue in the trash – or cough into your sleeve.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough and sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
The CDC recommends that, if you have flu symptoms, you stay at home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. You should not return to classes or work until you are fever free (without medication) for at least 24 hours.
Additional information may be obtained here