What is influenza (the flu)?
Influenza (with strains like swine flu, H1N1, avian flu, human flu) is a viral infection of the respiratory tract that is infectious.
What are symptoms of the flu?
Symptoms of the flu are similar to those of a cold but generally much worse in severity. Although the onset of the flu can come on quickly, most people who get the flu feel better within a week.
• scratchy throat
• fever 102º to 106° F
• nasal drip or congestion
• fatigue or a lack of energy
• body aches
• hacking cough
• chest discomfort or pains
• difficulty sleeping
When is flu season?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that flu season typically begins in October and can last through May. However, you can get the flu at any time of the year. It is just most common between the months of October and May.
How does the flu spread?
The flu is contagious and most adults are able to spread the flu before they even have any symptoms. Children are thought to be contagious for longer periods of time. "People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are 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 or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. 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 or nose."* If you are sick, be aware of everything you touch and wash everything in hot soapy water. Stay home from work, schools, churches, meetings, gatherings of any sorts, to help stop the spreading of the flu.
How can I avoid catching the flu?
Even though the flu is contagious, there are ways you can avoid getting the sick this flu season.
• Wash Your Hands: Keep germs at bay by washing your hands thoroughly and frequently with warm water and soap. Try to wash your hands for a full 15 seconds.
• Healthy Diet: Eat nutritious food to help stave off the flu. Have an assortment of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and fish.
• Immune Supplements: Take immunity-booting supplements to keep your immune system in peak performance.
• Rest: Get plenty of sleep. Your body should be well-rested so that your immune system is functioning properly.
• Get a Flu Shot: Many local pharmacies offer low-cost flu shots that can help prevent you from getting the local strains of the flu.
• Stay Relaxed: Stress can actually weaken the immune system. Take time out of your day to decompress if you need to.
• Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids that help hydrate the body. Avoid drinks that dehydrate you like coffee, tea, and alcohol.
• Avoid the Virus: Try not to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Additionally, avoid close contact with people who are sick.