Flu or influenza is a viral infection that targets the respiratory tract. The throat, nose and even the lungs get affected by this infection. Flu outbreaks usually occur on an annual basis at the same time. It is estimated that the flu season of 2015 could be a lot worse than previous years. It is likely that you might have experienced it already. When the flu hits you, things you concern most may include how long it's going to last, how to treat it effectively? With medication? Or just take enough rest? Here we will answers these commonly asked questions about flu.

5 Commonly Asked Questions About Flu


What Is the Flu? What Is the Difference Between Flu and a Cold?

Influenza or the flu is caused by influenza virus types A or B and is considered to be a very infectious disease. Months between October and May are usually when the Flu strikes. This virus invades the body and spreads quickly throughout the respiratory tract.

Both flu and common cold are infectious diseases that are caused by viruses and target the respiratory tract. Symptoms of both these illnesses are almost the same while the effects of the flu are generally very severe. People suffering from cold feel a bit low on energy but the flu sufferers can’t even get out of their beds. Drinking lots of water and taking rest are the best treatment options for both cold and flu. Over-the-counter painkiller can be used for flu but they are useless in case of a cold. You can get more detailed information regarding the differences between the cold and flu here.


How Long Does the Flu Last Without Medication?

Usually, consuming adequate amounts of fluid and taking enough bed rest are effective for both flu and cold. As for the answer to the question "how long does the flu last without medication," it might last from three days up to two weeks. However, if the flu persists for longer than that, there is a chance that a secondary infection or one of the following flu complications might have developed:

  • Pneumonia

  • Bronchitis

  • Sinus infections

  • Asthma flare-ups

  • Ear infections


How Long Is the Flu Contagious After Fever Breaks?

Actually, no matter you have fever or not, flu is easily contagious. Flu sufferers can spread the virus to other people standing 6 feet away from them. It is generally thought that droplets resulting from talking, coughing or sneezing by flu patients can cause the spreading of the flu virus. Inhalation of these droplets into the lungs or their landing in the nose and mouths of the people standing nearby can result in the transfer of the flu virus. Rarely does a person contracts flu by touching his nose or mouth after touching an object or surface with flu virus on it.

A healthy adult can start infecting others 1-4 days before the development of the symptoms because symptoms usually appear within 4 days of the entry of the virus into the body and might continue to do so for up to a week after he becomes sick. A child on the other hand can infect other children even after a week. There are cases in which flu patients don’t show any symptoms even though they are infected. Such patients still remain capable of infecting others.


Does Tamiflu Make You Not Contagious?

Many people want to know the answer of this question, well, the answer is no. Tamiflu does not stop the bacterial infections that occur because of flu virus. It is merely a prescription drug that helps in treating the flu patients that are 2 weeks old or more and have had the symptoms of the disease for up to 2 days. Children who are 1 year old or more might become non contagious if they are given Tamiflu. Besides, there is plenty of safety information that one needs to know about Tamiflu.

  • Stop taking Tamiflu if you experience a severe rash or an allergic reaction after its use. Consult the doctor immediately as it might be serious.

  • Tamiflu is not a right treatment option for you if you are immunocompromised, pregnant or nursing a baby, or have kidney, breathing and heart problems.

  • Flu patients who have received flu vaccine through a nasal-spray in the past two weeks must tell their doctor about the drugs they are taking.

  • Side effects of this medication include stomach pain, diarrhea and mild or severe vomiting and nausea.


How to Prevent a Flu

If you can prevent flu or cold in the first place, it will be better. Here we list three common ways that can help you avoid flu.

  • ŸGet vaccinated. Annual flu vaccinations are considered a must nowadays for every American who is above 6 months old by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The seasonal flu vaccine protects the people from the influenza viruses which are considered to be more common in the flu season that year. This vaccine is available as a nasal spray and an injection.

  • ŸBuild a germ barrier. Flu is contagious, so following hygiene tips can help you to avoid falling prey to it. These hygiene tips include washing hands with soap and warm water after touching a germ-covered surface or shaking hands with someone, ensuring that you do not touch your nose, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands and keeping disinfectant wipes and an alcohol-based sanitizer with you at all times.

  • ŸKeep a healthy lifestyle. To make your immune system capable of fighting off the flu virus and other harmful bacteria, you need to start living a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising frequently and sleeping properly at night. These tips will make your body stronger and give it the strength for fight off an influenza attack.


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