The flu is easily spread from person to person. Some people are at higher risk of severe illness or complications from influenza, including people who are less than 5 years of age, are 65 years of age or older, or have certain chronic conditions.
These include chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (excluding hypertension), endocrine, renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic or metabolic disorders, are immunosuppressed, are or will become pregnant during the influenza season. Those younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy, are residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, or are morbidly obese (body mass index >40) are also at higher risk for getting flu.
Symptoms of influenza may include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Among children, ear infection, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are also commonly reported. Not everyone who has the flu runs a fever. Infected persons can start shedding virus up to 24 hours before the onset of symptoms. Additionally, some persons who become infected with influenza do not have symptoms, but can still spread the virus.
There are several actions that can be taken to protect oneself and to prevent the spread of influenza:
· Get vaccinated for influenza every year
· Wash hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing
· Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when facilities are not available for hand washing
· Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or your arm/sleeve, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· When you are sick, limit contact with others and stay home until fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and take antiviral medications if prescribed by your doctor.
@PearlandDotCom Thanks for the reminder. This is especially important as people prepare for Christmas travels. My understanding is that it takes about two weeks after vaccination to build up antibodies to the influenza virus. So now is the time to be vaccinated.