Influenza (the flu) is a virus that causes a contagious respiratory illness. Each year approximately 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized because of the illness and 36,000 persons die.
- Cough (without a cough, the illness is more likely a viral infection of another variety)
- Muscle aches and severe tiredness
- Occasionally nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may be experienced
Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk for influenza. Those most adversely affected include older people, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic debilitating illnesses.
The best treatment is prevention. This can be accomplished by avoiding sick friends and relatives, frequently washing your hands, staying home from work or school if you are ill, and getting vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine when it becomes available. Specific treatment is usually geared toward easing the symptoms. Mountain Lakes Medical Center has a Rapid Flu Test which may detect the influenza virus and determine whether you have the Flu or some other type of illness. Anti-virals such as Tamiflu or Relenza may be helpful if started within a 48-72 hour window.
Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?
See a doctor if you are unable to keep liquids down or if you develop any issues with your breathing. One of the more common complications of the flu is bacterial pneumonia which can be very serious.
For more information on influenza, see the following websites:
CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm
Flu.gov – http://pandemicflu.gov/individualfamily/about/seasonalflu/
Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flu-symptoms/FU00013
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of MtLakesMedical.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.