How long does the flu last?
The common flu is a viral illness caused by the virus influenza types A, B, or C. The flu is a contagious illness, which means that it can be spread from person to person if a sick person causes droplets to get onto another from coughing, sneezing, or physical contact like kissing. The flu is typically a short-term illness lasting five to seven days. This time period may be shorted in people who have had the flu shot. Other people may experience longer symptoms or fatigue even after other symptoms have resolved. Those who may be at an increased risk of the flu include people over 65 years old, young children, pope with chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or HIV, pregnant women, and those who are obese. This is because people in these groups will have weakened immune systems and cannot fight of the virus as well or as quickly.
There are several steps that you can take to help prevent getting the flu or passing it on to others. The most important and best way to prevent sickness is b washing your hands with soap and water frequently for twenty seconds. It is also a good recommendation to stop smoking if you are a smoker, as smokers are more likely to get the flu and other diseases than nonsmokers. The flu vaccine is will also reduce your risk of getting the flu, although it is still possible to get the viral illness even with the vaccine. If you are considering the flu vaccine but have questions regarding vaccination, please contact your healthcare provider.
If you happen to get the flu, it is important to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Pain relievers can also be used to help with fever and aches. These medications include Tylenol/acetaminophen, Advil and Motrin/ibuprofen, and Aleve/naproxen. You can also see your doctor if it is early in the infection or if you have a high risk of complications for a prescription of Tamiflu/oseltamivir.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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