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Click here for information on Bird Flu. Bird flu is an
influenza A virus. Also called the "H5N1 virus" that occurs mainly in
birds, is highly contagious among birds, and can be deadly to them.
Click here for information on Pandemic Flu. A
flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious
illness that spreads easily from person to person. Currently there is no
Seasonal Flu is a contagious respiratory
illness caused by influenza viruses.
influenza (the flu)?
What are the symptoms of flu?
Is the flu contagious?
How is the flu treated?
How can I prevent the flu?
Who should get vaccinated?
Who should not be vaccinated?
Where can I buy home test kits for contributing factors of this
influenza (also called flu)? (top)
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.
It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
What are the
symptoms of flu? (top)
fever (usually high)
runny or stuffy nose
Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and
diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults
Is the flu
Yes! Flu viruses spread in respiratory droplets caused
by coughing and sneezing. They usually spread from person to person,
though sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu
viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults
may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and
up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you can pass on the
flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you
the flu treated? (top)
Many people treat their flu by simply;
Resting in bed
Drinking plenty of fluids
Taking over-the-counter medicine such as aspirin or
acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example)
Do not give aspirin to children and adolescents
who have the flu.
Do not take antibiotics to treat the flu because
they do not work on viruses. Antibiotics only work against some
infections caused by bacteria.
Medicine for Treatment:
If you do get the flu and want to take medicine to treat
it, your health care provider may prescribe one of four available
antiviral medicines Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is for treating influenza A
and B virus infections in adults and children 1 year and older.
Relenza (zanamivir) is for treating influenza A and B
virus infections in children 7 years and older and adults who have an
uncomplicated flu infection and who have had symptoms for no more than 2
days. Relenza is not used to prevent flu infection.
Flumadine (rimantadine) is for treating adults who have
influenza type A virus infections. It has no effect on influenza type B
Symmetrel (amantadine) is for treating adults and
children who are 1 year of age and older to prevent and treat type A
influenza virus infections but has no effect on influenza B virus
infections. Symmetrel, however, is more likely to cause side effects
such as lightheadedness and inability to sleep more often than is
To work well, you must take these medicines within 48
hours after the flu begins. They reduce the length or time fever and
other symptoms last and allow you to more quickly return to your daily
How can I prevent
the flu? (top)
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu
vaccination each fall. There are two types of vaccines:
The "flu shot" an inactivated vaccine (containing
killed virus) that is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for
use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people
with chronic medical conditions.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine a vaccine made with live, weakened flu
viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for Live
Attenuated Influenza Vaccine). LAIV is approved for use in healthy
people 5 years to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop
that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not
protect against influenza-like illnesses caused by other viruses.
Who should get
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu
can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each
year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu
complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for
People at high risk for complications from the flu:
People 65 years and older;
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term
care facilities that house those with long-term illnesses;
Adults and children 6 months and older with chronic
heart or lung conditions, including asthma;
Adults and children 6 months and older who needed
regular medical care or were in a hospital during the previous year
because of a metabolic disease (like diabetes), chronic kidney disease,
or weakened immune system (including immune system problems caused by
medicines or by infection with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV/AIDS]);
Children 6 months to 18 years of age who are on
long-term aspirin therapy. (Children given aspirin while they have
influenza are at risk of Reye syndrome.);
Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
All children 6 to 23 months of age;
People with any condition that can compromise
respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions (that is,
a condition that makes it hard to breathe or swallow, such as brain
injury or disease, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other
nerve or muscle disorders.)
People 50 to 64 years of age. Because nearly one-third
of people 50 to 64 years of age in the United States have one or more
medical conditions that place them at increased risk for serious flu
complications, vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 50 to 64.
People who can transmit flu to others at high risk for
complications. Any person in close contact with someone in a high-risk
group (see above) should get vaccinated. This includes all health-care
workers, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children 6 to
23 months of age, and close contacts of people 65 years and older.
Who should not
be vaccinated? (top)
Some people should not be vaccinated without first
consulting a physician. They include:
People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza
vaccination in the past.
People who developed Guillain-Barrι syndrome (GBS)
within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.
Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is
not approved for use in this age group).
People who have a moderate or severe illness with a
fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.
If you have questions about whether you should get a flu
vaccine, consult your health-care provider.
Click here to buy home test kits for
contributing factors of this
For additional information on the flu please visit:
National Institute of Health
Centers for Disease Control