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Health News :: Get the Facts: Know what to do about the flu
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose. You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time. Certain people are at greater risk for serious 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), and persons who live in facilities like nursing homes. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September and continue throughout the flu season which can last as late as May. This is because the timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu season can begin early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January, February or later. Please ask to speak to a clinic receptionist to schedule your flu vaccination.
For more information, please click here and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web page, "Key Facts about Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine".