Flu Symptoms And Prevention: What You Need To Know

How to avoid getting the flu …

(Zoe Szathmary, Fox News) Muscle aches, fevers, chills: the flu can be an unpleasant experience.

The flu is not a form of a cold, it’s caused specifically by the influenza virus. Check Headline Health regularly for cold and flu information.

The flu can also be deadly — 43,000 people in the United States die from it each year, says Dr. Neil Fishman of medicine at the Hospital for the University of Pennsylvania.

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Understanding what the flu is — and how to avoid getting it — may be helpful to your health.

What is the flu?

The flu “is a very specific disease caused by the influenza virus,” Dr. Lisa Maragakis of the Johns Hopkins Health System, said, adding that there can be mild or serious cases.

For one type of the virus, called Influenza A, the “classic” presentation is a sudden onset, Fishman said. People may first have a headache, a fever of at least 103 degrees, chills, sweats and body aches.

Influenza B often is less severe and resembles the common cold.

What should I know about flu prevention?

The flu vaccine “may not be perfect but it’s the best prevention that we have,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan, the director of the influenza unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said.

There are other “more general prevention strategies” people can follow, according to Maragakis. These include frequently washing your hands, coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow and avoiding people who appear to be sick.

I have the flu — now what?

“If it’s a mild illness, it’s generally self-limited,” Maragakis said. If you’re sick, stay home and avoid others, especially babies, pregnant women and the elderly, she advised.

Jernigan encouraged people with the flu to get lots of fluids and nutrients. Antiviral drugs are used when people are hospitalized or have certain underlying medical conditions, he said. READ THE FULL STORY AT FOX NEWS. Also of interest: Common Flower Helps Banish FLU, Cold Symptoms in 24 Hours