Fight the Flu

UNHS Public Health

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a virus that causes infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. There are two main types of influenza virus: A and B. Each type has many different forms which are likely to change each year. The flu is very contagious and is often spread by coughing and sneezing. The symptoms of the flu are usually fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, stuffed or runny nose, cough, sore throat and weakness. People who are infected with the flu are usually contagious for up to 7 days after their symptoms start.

  Most people recover from the flu within one week; some people, however, develop severe illnesses such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and dehydration. Hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized because of the flu each year. The flu can also worsen other serious medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, and diabetes. There are certain groups of people who are more likely to suffer from severe illness or death; these people include children younger than 5 (especially children younger than 2), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, and people with certain medical conditions (asthma, lung disease, heart disease, etc.). Type

  Due to the changing types of flu each year, you are not immune to the flu if you received a flu shot the year before or were previously infected with the flu. The best way to prevent a flu infection is to receive the flu vaccine every year. It is recommended that one receive the flu shot by the end of October; however, receiving the vaccination at a later time can still be beneficial in providing protection. Protection from the flu usually begins two weeks after vaccination, so the earlier you are vaccinated the better.

  Other methods of prevention include covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using and disposing of tissue after each use, and washing your hands with soap and warm water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as these tendencies are how germs spread. Avoid close contact with those who are sick and avoid others when you are sick.

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