Influenza

What is Influenza [flu]?

Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can be prevented by immunization.  It is not the "stomach flu." It is caused by a virus that attacks the noses, throat, and lungs.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms come quickly in the form of a fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache, extreme tiredness, nasal congestion, and body aches.  These symptoms can be severe and put you in bed for a number of days.

How is the flu different from a cold?

A cold generally stays up in the head while the flu brings body aches, fever, and extreme fatigue.  A child with a cold will usually keep up his or her normal activities. A child with the flu will often feel too sick to play.

What can you do to protect yourself and others?

Stay at home from school or work if you have a respiratory infection.

  • Avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick with a flu-like illness
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whever you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue away.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Clean your hands often - with soap and water if you have available or with an alcohol-based, waterless hand sanitizer.
  • Do not share anything that goes into the mouth such as drinking cups and straws.

What if you think you or your child has the flu?

  • Stay at home if you are ill, and encourage others to do so as well.
  • Rest and drink lots of fluids. This will help your body recover from the infection.
  • Antibiotics will not help a person recover from the flu, because the flu is caused by a virus, not by bacteria.
  • Call your doctor or clinic about what to do if you are concerned.

To find a flu clinic near you go to www.mdhflu.com.