Symptoms, causes, and treatments for
Flu, unlike the common cold, is caused by the influenza virus. What doctors call influenza affects your respiratory system, and isn’t the same illness known as stomach flu. Symptoms associated with influenza include: cough, fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, flushing, full-body weakness or fatigue, muscle aches, sinus congestion or pressure, sore throat, and sweating. The difference between colds and the flu is measured by speed and severity: the flu virus hits you faster, and makes you feel sicker, than the common cold.
The most common way to get the flu is by coming in contact with an infected person’s body fluids—they cough or sneeze and you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Other ways to infect yourself include shaking hands with someone who coughed into their hands then didn’t wash them, or inhaling traces of the virus from the air. Like colds, flu viruses can live on doorknobs, phones, kids’ toys, and other household or office objects for up to eight hours.
Unlike colds, there’s a vaccine for influenza. Each year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) selects a new strain of flu to be manufactured and distributed. While it’s possible your flu shot won’t protect you against an unforeseen strain of flu virus, the yearly vaccine guards against the highest probable strain expected to infect the general population. Yearly shots are one of the best defenses against the flu.
ZOOM+Care offers flu shots every season. Schedule an on-demand visit, get your shot within 15 minutes, and be on your way.
Adults and kids with the flu may be OK at home with plenty of rest, fluids, and non-prescription medications. However, the flu can be a serious, life-threatening illness. The following individuals are at a higher risk of developing complications from flu:
Complications from flu include bronchitis, ear infections, heart problems, and pneumonia.
Even if you aren’t at higher risk for complications from flu, you’ll want to see a doctor immediately if the following symptoms persist:
Aside from getting your yearly flu vaccine, consider these tips to help prevent the flu: