Influenza or the “flu” is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, with death resulting in some cases.
Symptoms can include:
How does the flu spread? An infected person can spread influenza to another individual through coughing or sneezing. Touching common surface areas, such as a doorknob, may also spread influenza.
Who is at risk of getting influenza? Anyone is at risk for becoming infected with influenza. However, the following groups are at a greater risk for severe problems:
How is it diagnosed and treated? Influenza is diagnosed by collecting a nasal or throat sample, which is sent to a laboratory for further testing.
Antiviral medications prescribed by your doctor can be used to treat influenza, if given at least two days after symptoms begin. The course of treatment is usually 5 days.
Finally, it is important to drink fluids, take medications that relieve symptoms, and get plenty of rest.
What should I do if I think I have it? Contact your doctor if you have any of the previously mentioned symptoms because further examination may be needed to determine if you are experiencing complications related to the influenza virus.
How is it prevented? The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated. Vaccination helps your body fight off the viruses that cause flu.
For more information contact your doctor, refer to the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/flu or contact Cabrini College Health Services at 610-902-8531