Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu can be contracted by inhaling respiratory droplets produced an infected person's coughing or sneezing, or by touching a surface contaminated by the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes. If someone has the flu, he or she is contagious from the day before the onset of symptoms up to seven days after getting sick. If you’d like to learn more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an excellent source of information about the flu.
In most cases, symptoms of flu have a sudden onset. Symptoms include:
Flu can lead to complications including bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes even when treated appropriately.
If you think you have the flu, visit your medical provider as soon as possible. Your doctor can perform a nasal-swab flu test that aids in diagnosing the flu.
The best protection against flu is getting a flu shot before flu season begins. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot each fall, including pregnant women. In addition to getting a flu shot, adhere to the following healthy practices:
If your medical provider has determined you are infected with the flu, he or she may prescribe anti-viral flu medication for you. The medication may reduce the duration of your illness if you begin taking it within 48 hours of the onset of your symptoms.
You can come into any Patient First center from 8 a.m. to 8 pm any day of the week - no appointment needed.
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