Chat with a PlushCare online doctor about your flu symptoms for diagnosis and treatment, including Tamiflu prescriptions if needed. Influenza, or the flu, is one of the most common illnesses in the country. The flu exhibits symptoms that often overlap with other illnesses (particularly the common cold), and in rare instances, influenza has led to death. Thankfully, medications and vaccines can make sure that your immune system can easily fight off any flu infections and support good health. Here’s everything you need to know about the flu.
INFLUENZA DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a series of different viruses. These viruses can infect your lungs, nose, and throat. Estimates suggest that up to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year. Influenza is caused by viruses simply known as A, B, and C. Viruses A and B are the most common types that are known to cause seasonal flu epidemics each year. The influenza C virus is known to cause mild respiratory illnesses outside of the regular flu season. It can take up to 4 days after initial exposure to the influenza virus before your first symptoms begin. Some common influenza symptoms include: Fever, Sore throat, Coughing, Congestion, Headaches, Aching muscles, and General fatigue. Influenza is generally mild and harmless, but for the elderly, newborns, and people with immune systems that have already been compromised by certain chronic illnesses, the flu can pose a more serious threat. How long the flu lasts depends on your age, immune system, and other external factors. However, typically a bout of the flu lasts about one to two weeks with severe symptoms subsiding in two to three days. Because the flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics, which only affect bacterial infections, will have no effect. Most people who are diagnosed with the flu will recover on their own without the need for medical care. Certain antiviral medications, like zanamivir and
oseltamivir, can help to reduce the severity of symptoms or the length of the illness. Your doctor may also prescribe over-the- counter painkillers to relieve headaches, body pains, and other common symptoms. You should stay at home when you have the flu to keep from spreading the virus. At home, make sure you drink plenty of fluids, stay warm, and get rest.
INFLUENZA CONTAGIOUSNESS AND SPREAD
Human influenza viruses are highly contagious. You can potentially infect others one day before you even develop initial symptoms. Most healthy adults will be contagious five to seven days after becoming sick. Children and those with weakened immune systems may be contagious for even longer periods of time. The influenza virus usually spreads from person to person through water droplets created when people sneeze, cough, or talk. The virus can also spread through direct contact or through contact with an object or surface with the virus on it. You can then introduce the virus into your system when you touch your eye, mouth, or nose. Flu season generally starts during the winter and continues into spring, but some experts suggest that the season officially starts in October and continues to early May. Flu season usually peaks around January. This is usually compounded by the fact that more people stay indoors around others during the cold, rainy months - allowing for easier accidental spread of the virus.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get your seasonal flu vaccination, which comprises a shot administered via a needle to your arm. The shot contains three different types of influenza virus. Because the virus is constantly changing and adapting, do not assume that a flu shot from last year will protect you from the flu this year. You should be protected from the flu about two weeks after receiving the vaccination. The flu vaccine is not for everyone, particularly children under 6 months of age, those who have severe allergies to chicken eggs, and those who have had severe reactions to flu shots in the past.
Get Flu Treatment Online
1. Visit with the doctor and tell them your symptoms: fever, body aches, and fatigue are common.
2. The doctor can diagnose flu, and send needed prescriptions to a local pharmacy. Tamiflu is a common prescription that can shorten the duration of your symptoms.
3. You can go to your chosen pharmacy to pick up the medicine, and be on your way to feeling better.