Influenza (Flu) is a respiratory (lung) illness. The main symptoms of the flu are fever (100°of higher), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat and muscle aches. Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, can also occur but are more common in children than adults.
What is the “novel H1N1” stain? This is a strain of influenza that is similar to what we normally see during the flu season. The only difference is that as a new strain, many people may not been exposed to this before but a vaccine for this strain should be available in mid-October.
Is flu contagious? The flu is contagious and symptoms can start 1 to 4 days after exposure.
What can I do to prevent flu?
· Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before you eat. If water is not available then use a hand sanitizer.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
· Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you are taking care of someone who is sick, wash your hands, and clean surfaces with a mild disinfectant such as a weak bleach solution – no more than ½ of a cup of household bleach to one gallon of water.
What do I do if I get sick?
Most healthy people recover from the flu without complications. If you get the flu:
· Stay home from work or school if you are feeling sick, so that the illness will not spread to others. Please wait 24 hours after your temperature has returned to normal before you go back to work or school.
· Get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. (If you don’t have tissue, cough or squeeze into the crook of your arm.
· There are over-the-counter (OTC) medications to relieve the symptoms of the flu (but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever).
· Remember that serious illness from the flu is more likely in certain groups of people. They include those 65 and older, pregnant women, those with certain chronic medical conditions and young children.
· It is not necessary for everyone with influenza-like-illness to see a health-care provider or to seek medical treatment, but everyone should consult their doctor early-on for the best course of treatment, especially those who have a chronic condition or are in a high risk group. Anyone can call the toll-free Nurse Advice Hotline 877-725-2552 anytime with questions.