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    Health    Flu
    Also called: Grippe, Influenza

    Flu is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses. The viruses pass through the air and enter your body through your nose or mouth. Between 5% and 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. The flu can be serious or even deadly for elderly people, newborn babies, and people with certain chronic illnesses.

    Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and are worse than those of the common cold. They may include

    • Body or muscle aches
    • Chills
    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Sore throat

    Is it a cold or the flu? Colds rarely cause a fever or headaches. Flu almost never causes an upset stomach. And "stomach flu" isn't really flu at all, but gastroenteritis.

    Most people with the flu recover on their own without medical care. People with mild cases of the flu should stay home and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care. If you get the flu, your health care provider may prescribe medicine to help your body fight the infection and lessen symptoms.

    The main way to keep from getting the flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine. Good hygiene, including hand washing, can also help.

    NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Symptoms of Flu

    The following features are indicative of Flu:
    • body aches
    • muscle aches
    • chills
    • cough
    • fever
    • headache
    • sore throat
    • diarrhea
    • abdominal pain
    • nasal congestion
    • vomiting
    • runny nose
    • sneezing
    • fatigue
    • watering eyes
    • petechial rash
    It is possible that Flu shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
    References: 1

    Common Causes of Flu

    The following are the most common causes of Flu:
    • influenza virus
    References: 1, 2

    Risk Factors of Flu

    The following factors may increase the likelihood of Flu:
    • weakened immune systems
    • chronic illnesses
    • young children and older adults
    • obesity
    • pregnancy

    Prevention of Flu

    Yes, it may be possible to prevent Flu. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
    • wash hands frequently
    • yearly vaccinations against influenza should be done
    • avoiding close contact with sick people
    References: 3

    Occurrence of Flu.

    Degree of Occurrence

    The following are number of Flu cases seen each year worldwide:
    • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

    Common Age Group

    Flu most commonly occurs in the following age group:
    • Can happen at any age

    Common Gender

    Flu most commonly occurs in the following gender:
    • Not gender specific
    References: 3

    Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Flu

    The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Flu:
    • Rapid influenza diagnostic tests: To detect influenza viruses
    • Flu testing: To diagnose the flu
    References: 3, 4

    Doctor for Diagnosis of Flu:

    Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Flu:
    • Infectious disease specialist

    Complications of Flu if Untreated

    Yes, Flu causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Flu is left untreated:
    • pneumonia
    • bronchitis
    • asthma flare-ups
    • heart problems
    • ear infections
    References: 2

    Self-care for Flu

    The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Flu:
    • Drink plenty of liquids: Prevents dehydration
    • Take proper rest: Helps your immune system to fight against infection
    • Consider pain relievers: Combat with the achiness associated with influenza
    References: 2

    Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Flu

    The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Flu:
    • Have echinacea roots and flowers juice: Enhances natural killer cell activity that helps in flu
    • Intake ginseng supplements: Enhances the ability to resist mental and physical stress
    • Probiotics use: Live microorganisms improves intestinal microflora
    References: 5

    Time for Treatment of Flu

    While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Flu to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
    • In 1 - 4 weeks
    References: 6

    Is Flu Infectious?

    Yes, Flu is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
    • cough
    • sneeze
    • direct contact

    Questions - Flu

    The seasonal flu shot is different every year based on which strains of the flu are most likely to cause the flu in that upcoming flu season. The inactivated influenza vaccine cannot give you the flu because there is no live flu virus in the shot. However, you can have minor side effects such as headache, fever, and fatigue or you can have major side effects such as an allergic reaction or Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).
    1. Influenza (flu) vaccine. CDC. URL: Accessed April 9, 2018
    2. Flu Shot. Medline Plus. URL: Accessed April 9, 2018
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    Animal studies have specified that Flu vaccines in pregnant women lead to an increased risk of miscarriages and fetal loss. So, Flu vaccines are not considered to be safe during pregnancy.
    FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has specified Influenza vaccination (flu shot) in Pregnancy category C which specifies that there was no fetal harm in animals administered with Influenza vaccination. But there is no adequate data for human studies that have demonstrated Influenza vaccination to be safe for use in women in any trimester of pregnancy.
    Women before taking flu vaccines are advised to notify their gynaecologist if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant or are breastfeeding an infant.
    1. NIH H1N1 flu shots are safe for pregnant women URL: Accessed January 29, 2018
    2. Wikipedia Influenza vaccine URL: Accessed January 29, 2018
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    1. Wikipedia Influenza - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    2. Mayo Clinic Influenza (flu) - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    3. Wikipedia Influenza - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    4. CDC Influenza (Flu) - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    5. Nahas R, Balla A. Complementary and alternative medicine for prevention and treatment of the common cold. Can Fam Physician. 2011;57(1):31-6. - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    6. Zhong NS, Li YM, Yang ZF, et al. Chinese guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of influenza (2011). J Thorac Dis. 2011;3(4):274-89. - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    7. Source:

    Last updated date

    This page was last updated on 7/31/2018.
    This page provides information for Flu.