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 is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Flu

The following are the most common causes of Flu:
  • influenza virus

Risk Factors for 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

Occurrence of Flu

Number of Cases

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

Common Age Group

Flu can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Flu can occur in any gender.

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

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

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

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

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

Is Flu Infectious?

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

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Flu.
Bird Flu
Common Cold
Flu Shot
H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)
Viral Infections

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