The flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. How does the flu spread?
experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when
people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in
the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly even inhaled
into the lungs. A person also might get the flu by touching a surface or
object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes,
mouth or nose. How long can a sick person spread the flu to others?
infected with the flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from
one day before getting sick to about five to seven days after getting
sick. This can be longer in some people, especially those with weakened
immune systems. This means that you may be able to pass on the flu to
someone else before you know you have the flu, as well as while you are
sick. What can I do to protect myself from getting sick from the flu?
recommends a three-step approach to fighting the flu: (1) vaccination,
(2) every-day preventative actions and (3) the correct use of antiviral
drugs if your doctor recommends them. Prevention
A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting
against flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against three of four viruses;
an H1N1, an H3N2 and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the
2) Take everyday actions to help prevent the spread of
germs that cause respiratory illnesses. Try to avoid close contact with
sick people, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or
sneeze, limit your contact with others when you're sick, wash your hands
often with soap and water, clean and disinfect surfaces and objects
that may be contaminated and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth so
as not to spread germs.
3) If you get the flu, antiviral drugs
can treat your illness. These drugs can make illness milder and shorten
the time you are sick. Antiviral drugs work best when started in the
first two days of symptoms to treat people who are very sick (such as
those who are hospitalized) or people who are sick with flu symptoms and
at increased risk of severe flu illness.
- Emergency Warning
Signs in Adults include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath,
pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion
and severe or persistent vomiting.
- Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy
nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes diarrhea and