Flu Resources

Friday, January 9, 2015

Quicklinks:​ Basics, Prevention, If you are sick


Symptoms of flu can include a sudden onset of fever or feeling feverish/having chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (feeling very tired), some children may have vomiting and diarrhea.

How Influenza Spreads

Influenza spreads mainly from person to person by droplets from the nose or throat that are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Sometimes, people may become infected by touching something with influenza virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose before washing their hands.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Symptoms usually appear 1 to 3 days after exposure to the influenza virus.

What should I do if I think I am sick with influenza?

If you become ill with influenza symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to seek medical care. Most people are able to recover at home without medical care.

Rest, liquids, and over-the-counter medicine for fever (e.g., acetaminophen) are the usual treatments. Some prescription drugs may reduce the severity of influenza. Antibiotics are not effective at fighting the flu.

Emergency warning signs in children include fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough, fever with a rash.

Emergency warning signs in adults include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting.


The Influenza vaccination is the primary method for preventing the flu and its severe complications for individuals over 6 months of age. Protection develops about two weeks after getting the vaccine and may last up to a year.

Clean hands are another important factor in preventing the spread of disease. Soap and water should be used when hands are visibly dirty, contaminated, or soiled, after using the restroom, and before eating or preparing food. Alcohol-based hand rubs are fast-acting, convenient, and generally can be used for other situations.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

If taking care of yourself or a sick person at home, make sure that you clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may become contaminated with the influenza virus, especially if you have others at home who are not sick. Wipe these surfaces down with an approved household disinfectant.

If You Are Sick

Avoid contact with other people unless you are seeking medical care. If you are around other people, maintain a safe distance (at least 3 feet) or wear a surgical mask.

Don't return to work, school, or other activities until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.

Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug for you to take. These are most effective when given early in the illness. Antiviral drugs can lesson symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They can also prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. Antiviral drugs are different than antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections. Antibiotics are not effective against influenza.

Flu Basics, Prevention, and If You Are Sick information comes from the Virginia Department of Health

For more information and tips please visit: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/blog/2016/05/02/flu/