Who Is More Likely To Get Very Sick With The Flu
Below is a list of groups of people who may get very sick if they have the flu. It is important that they, and the people around them, get a flu shot.
- People with lung disease like asthma
- People of all ages with ongoing medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, blood cell disease including sickle cell, or neurological diseases that affect swallowing or breathing
- Pregnant women and women who have given birth within 2 weeks
- Children younger than 5 years, especially those younger than 2 years
- Adults age 50 years and over
- People with weak immune systems
- Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years and adults aged 50 years and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged younger than 6 months and
- Household contacts and caregivers of people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza.
How Infectious Is Influenza And How Is It Spread
Influenza is a moderately infectious virus and, on average an infectious person will infect another one or two people who are not immune. The virus can be transmitted in one of two ways. Firstly, by breathing in larger droplets from infectious people who cough or sneeze without covering their mouth and nose people . This is why it is so important that a person covers their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze. Smaller droplets and aerosols seem to be less liable to carry the virus and therefore, since only the larger droplets are infectious, it is generally only people close to an infectious person who are at risk.
Influenza infection can also be spread by direct contact with mucous membranes from the nose, mouth and throat – for example on the hands of infectious people who have rubbed their noses. That is why hand hygiene and proper use of disposable handkerchiefs are so important.
In hospital some medically invasive procedures such as intubation can produce infectious aerosols and fine droplets which may carry the virus. This is one reason why doctors and nurses take more protective precautions and wear special masks in hospitals.
How Are Stomach Flu And Influenza Different
“Stomach flu” is a popular term, but not a true medical diagnosis. It’s not uncommon to mistake gastroenteritis, which is what stomach flu is, for the viral infection we commonly call the “flu.” Gastroenteritis refers to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract . Viruses are the most common cause of stomach flu. With gastroenteritis, you may have symptoms such as fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
For more about gastrointestinal flu, read WebMD’s Stomach Flu or Influenza?
Also Check: Does Caresource Cover Flu Shots
How Is The Flu Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. The goal of treatment is to help prevent or ease symptoms.
Treatment may include medicines such as:
Acetaminophen. This is to help lessen body aches and fever. Don’t give aspirin to a child with a fever.
Cough medicine. This may be prescribed by your childs healthcare provider.
Antiviral medicine. This may help to ease symptoms, and shorten the length of illness. This medicine does not cure the flu. The medicine must be started within 2 days after symptoms begin.
Antibiotics arent effective against viral infections, so they are not prescribed. Instead, treatment focuses on helping ease your childs symptoms until the illness passes.
Talk with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.
Also make sure your child:
Gets lots of rest in bed
Drinks plenty of fluids
What Is Avian Or Bird Flu
Bird flu, or avian influenza, is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. Bird flu epidemics have occurred worldwide.
Bird flu is a leading contender to be the next pandemic flu bug because it has caused an unprecedented epidemic in poultry and wild birds across Asia and Eastern Europe. Still, no one knows for sure whether this will cause the next human flu pandemic.
For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Understanding Avian or Bird Flu.
Recommended Reading: Vicks Severe Cold And Flu Dosage
How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Common Cold And Influenza
Many cold and flu symptoms are similar. Both the common cold and the flu are caused by viruses.
There are some differences with influenza. Symptoms of influenza often hit suddenly and cause you to become weaker and weaker. While the more uncomfortable symptoms of flu generally last from three to seven days, the dry cough and fatigue of influenza can last two to three weeks. Signs that influenza is getting worse include increasing degree of fever, and shortness of breath. If you think that your illness is getting worse, contact your doctor right away.
Symptoms of colds and flu
- Stay at home.
- Take acetaminophen to reduce fever and relieve muscle aches.
Note: Adults should not give aspirin to children or adolescents with fevers due to the association with Reye’s syndrome, a rare disorder that causes brain and liver damage.
Who Should Get The Flu Vaccine
Its recommended that everyone 6 months or older should get an influenza vaccine each year. You will protect yourself and other people around you. People who have any of the following conditions are at high risk of becoming seriously ill from influenza :
- Lung disease.
You also have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from influenza if you:
- Are younger than 2 years, or over 65 years old.
- Are pregnant and for 2 weeks after delivery
- Are under 19 years old and must take aspirin regularly.
- Live in a nursing home.
If you work in a healthcare facility, you may transmit influenza to patients and other workers, but you are not at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that everyone over the age of 6 months gets a flu vaccine if there are no contraindications. This includes individuals who are not at high risk.
Recommended Reading: Costco Flu Shots For Seniors
How Can I Help Prevent The Flu In My Child
The best way to prevent flu is to have the yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is given as a shot . A nasal spray is not recommended for the 2017-2018 flu season. The CDC says this is because the nasal spray did not seem to protect against the flu over the last several flu seasons.
Each year, a new flu vaccine is available before the start of the flu season. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about how vaccines work and how well they prevent flu. The first time a child between the ages of 6 months and 8 years gets a flu vaccine, he or she will need a second flu vaccine one month later.
The vaccine is advised for all children 6 months and older. But for some children, its more critical for them to get a flu shot. The flu shot should be given to any child who has any of these:
A long-term heart or lung condition
An endocrine disorder such as diabetes
A kidney or liver disorder
Weak immune system from HIV/AIDS or long-term steroids
A blood disorder such as sickle cell disease
A flu shot should also be given to:
A child who has a family member with a chronic health condition
A child or teen taking aspirin as long-term therapy
A child with parents or caregivers at high risk of complications from the flu
Some side effects of the vaccine can be like mild flu symptoms, but the vaccine does not cause the flu. Possible side effects of the flu vaccine include:
And you can help prevent your child spreading the flu to others if you:
How Can I Avoid Getting Influenza
Getting an influenza vaccine every year is recommended for everyone aged 6 months or older. People in the above groups are eligible for free flu vaccination each year under the National Immunisation Program.
While not 100% effective, the flu vaccine provides a high level of protection and can reduce symptoms in those still getting sick.
can be co-administered with a flu vaccine. There is no requirement for a time interval between these vaccines.
Wearing a face mask and practicing good hand hygiene can help to reduce your chances of catching the flu or passing it on to others.
Don’t Miss: Is The Flu Shot A Live Virus
The Flu Shot Is Your Best Defence
This years flu season is taking place at the same time as COVID-19. Dont take any unnecessary risks with your health. Get the flu shot as early in the season as possible.
The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. It is:
- available from your doctor or nurse practitioner, and at participating pharmacies and local public health units across the province
- proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
- different each year because the virus changes frequently so you need to get it every fall
Disease Burden Of Flu
Each year CDC estimates the burden of influenza in the U.S. CDC uses modeling to estimate the number of flu illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to flu that occurred in a given season. The methods used to calculate these estimates are described on CDCs webpage, How CDC Estimates the Burden of Seasonal Flu in the U.S.
CDC uses the estimates of the burden of flu in the population and the impact of flu vaccination to inform policy and communications related to flu.
The burden of flu disease in the United States can vary widely and is determined by a number of factors including the characteristics of circulating viruses, the timing of the season, how well the vaccine is working to protect against illness, and how many people got vaccinated. While the effects of flu varies, it places a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States each year.
CDC estimates that flu has resulted in 9 million 41 million illnesses, 140,000 710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 52,000 deaths annually between 2010 and 2020.
Read Also: Time For Flu Vaccine To Be Effective
What Is The Flu
The flu, also called influenza, is a respiratory infection caused by viruses. Each year, millions of Americans get sick with the flu. Sometimes it causes mild illness. But it can also be serious or even deadly, especially for people over 65, newborn babies, and people with certain chronic illnesses.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu In A Child
The flu is a respiratory disease, but it can affect the whole body. A child can become suddenly ill with any or all of these symptoms:
Fever, which may be as high as 103°F to 105°F
Body aches, which may be severe
|Extreme tiredness that can last weeks|
|Sore throat||Sore throat in some cases|
A cold is usually mild and often goes away after a few days. The flu can cause severe symptoms and lead to problems such as pneumonia and even death. The symptoms of the flu can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Don’t Miss: Does Medicare Cover Flu Shots At Publix
How Long Is It Contagious
If you have the flu, youre contagious from at least a day before you begin to experience symptoms up through five days after your symptoms begin.
In more severe cases, you could be contagious for even longer after you begin experiencing symptoms. This number can fluctuate if your immune system is weak or undeveloped, specifically in cases of children or older adults.
What Is Influenza A
Influenza A is a type of virus that causes influenza , a highly contagious respiratory illness. If you get it, you will need to rest at home and avoid infecting others. Vaccination can protect you against influenza A.
Both the influenza A and influenza B viruses circulate in the community and change continually, with new strains coming out each winter. This is why yearly vaccination is recommended.
Also Check: First Signs Of Stomach Flu
Are There Carriers Of Influenza
No, not in the sense of people going around for days unwittingly spreading influenza. Some people may become infected with an influenza virus without experiencing any symptoms or only having mild symptoms for a short period. This may be how some people catch influenza without recalling having been in contact with anyone with the disease. However, it is thought that those without symptoms, or with minor symptoms, are generally less infectious than those with stronger symptoms.
Difference Between Influenza And Covid
and the flu can be similar.
If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, contact the COVID-19 hotline on or your GP to check if you require COVID-19 testing.
The symptoms of COVID-19 to watch out for are:
- loss or changein sense of smell or taste
Also Check: Publix Flu Shots 2021 Gift Card
Caring For Yourself And Others
If you are unwell, stay at home and rest ideally/preferably in a separate, well ventilated room away from other people.
It is important to drink small amounts of fluids often.
Antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, not the viral infections that cause influenza.
Carefully read and follow the labels on any medication and contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions
You can also:
- reduce fever by using a damp cloth on your forehead, washing the arms and body with a cool cloth, bathing in slightly warm water
- take appropriate medicines to relieve discomfort and fever if necessary.
- It is especially important to reduce fever if you are pregnant.
- gargle a glass of warm water and/or suck sugarless hard sweets or lozenges to help with sore throats
- shower or bathe regularly and keep bedding and nightwear clean and dry
- use skin balm or moisturiser to stop your lips from cracking.
Know the danger signs that mean you should seek urgent medical attention .
Any child younger than 3 months who has a fever should see a doctor
What Is The Flu In Children
Influenza is a very contagious viral infection that affects the air passages of the lungs. It causes a high fever, body aches, a cough, and other symptoms. It is one of the most severe and common viral illnesses of the winter season. Most children are ill with the flu for less than a week. But some children have a more serious illness and may need to be treated in the hospital. The flu may also lead to lung infection or death.
Don’t Miss: High Dose Flu Vaccine Walgreens
What Is The Home Treatment
If you get sick with influenza, home treatment can help ease symptoms. Follow the self-care advice below:
- Get plenty of rest and stay home from work, school, daycare and running errands when you are sick
- Drink extra fluids to replace those lost from fever
- Avoid smoking and ask others not to smoke in the house
- Breathe moist air from a hot shower or from a sink filled with hot water to help clear a stuffy nose
- Anti-influenza drugs or antivirals are available by prescription, but these must be started within 48 hours of the start of your symptoms to work best. These will shorten symptoms by about 3 days if given within 12 hours and by about 1.5 days if given within 2 days of the start of symptoms
- Non-prescription cough and cold medications are available for relief of influenza symptoms but are not recommended for children under 6 years old
*Ibuprofen should not be given to children under 6 months of age without first speaking to your health care provider.
For more information on Reye Syndrome, see HealthLinkBC File #84 Reye Syndrome.
When Should I See A Health Care Provider
Consult your health care provider early if you develop flu-like symptoms and you have a condition that puts you at higher risk of complications.
You should also call your health care provider if your symptoms get worse, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pain or signs of dehydration .
Recommended Reading: Cvs Pharmacy Schedule Flu Shot
What Problems Can Happen
Some children are more likely to have problems when they get the flu, including:
- kids up to age 5, especially babies
- people with a weak immune system from medicines or illnesses or illnesses
- people with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes
- kids or teens who take aspirin regularly
- people who are very obese
- women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, just had a baby, or are breastfeeding
- people who live in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes
- people 65 years and older
If they get the flu, their illness can be more serious. They can develop pneumonia or get even sicker from other kinds of infections . If this happens, many will need medical care in the hospital. So it’s important for them not to be near anyone who has the flu or flu-like symptoms.
People who have flu symptoms should keep their distance from anyone who might get very sick if they catch the flu.