The Flu? No big deal ... Or is it?
Actually, influenza – commonly called the "flu" – can be a pretty serious illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, compared with other viral respiratory infections – such as the common cold – infection from the "flu" often causes a more severe illness.
In an average year, influenza is associated with about 36,000 deaths nationwide and many more hospitalizations.
Even less serious cases of influenza can keep individuals – both young and old – from work and school for up to several days.
When should I get my flu shot?
The best time to get a flu shot is in October or November. The flu season usually peaks between January and March.
Will a flu vaccine prevent stomach flu?
The flu is a respiratory illness. You cannot have a "stomach flu." Symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are not common flu symptoms, except in very young children.
How to tell if you have the cold or the flu:
If you have a cold:
- Your illness will usually begin slowly, two to three days after infection by the virus. It will normally last only two to seven days.
- You will most likely first notice a scratchy, sore throat, followed by sneezing and a runny nose.
- You may get a mild cough a few days later.
- Adults and older children usually don’t have a fever, but if they do, it will be very mild.
- Infants and young children, however, sometimes have fevers up to 102 degrees F.
If you have the flu:
- You will have a sudden headache and dry cough.
- You might have a runny nose and a sore throat.
- Your muscles will ache.
- You will be extremely tired.
- You can have a fever of up to 104 degrees F.
- You most likely will feel better in a couple of days, but the fatigue and cough can last for two weeks
Source: Centers for Disease Control