Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby
Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle or body aches
- fatigue (tiredness)
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea , though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?
If you are otherwise healthy and not at increased risk of complications, seek medical advice if your flu symptoms are unusually severe, such as:
- Trouble breathing
- A severe sore throat
- A cough that produces a lot of green or yellow mucus
- Feeling faint
Also, see a doctor immediately if you think you might have signs or symptoms of pneumonia, which may include a severe cough that brings up phlegm, a high fever and a sharp pain when you breathe deeply.
Parents, do not hesitate to contact doctor if you have concerns about the flu, questions about your child’s symptoms or if you think your child should receive the flu vaccine. Our doctor will be able to answer your questions and go over information specific for your child’s age as well as any pre-existing conditions he or she may have.
Take your child to the emergency department if he or she displays any of the following symptoms:
- Rapid or labored breathingD
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough to maintain hydration
- Not waking up or interacting
- Irritability to the point that he or she doesn’t want to be held
Also consult a doctor if your child’s flu symptoms improve but then return and include a fever and worse cough.