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Ask the Pharmacist - Influenza
I hear a lot of talk about the flu season, but I don’t really know what that means. Is that the only time I can get the flu?
This is a
great question. In the United States, the flu season peaks from
December through March. This means that these are the months when the
influenza virus (commonly called the flu) is spread the most. While you
can get the flu anytime, you are more likely to be infected with the
virus during these months.
How is the virus spread?
virus is spread from person to person, usually when an infected person
coughs or sneezes. This is often referred to as droplet spread, because
respiratory droplets from an infected person are propelled, then
breathed in through the mouths or noses of those nearby. Sometimes the
virus is spread by touching a contaminated surface. An adult can spread
the infection one day before symptoms occur and up to seven days after
How do I know if I have the flu?
usually occur within one to four days after a person is infected. Since
influenza is a virus of the upper respiratory system (nose, throat and
lungs), there are a variety of symptoms and not everyone gets the same
combination of symptoms. Possible symptoms include: fever, dry cough,
sore throat, fatigue, muscle ache, headaches, runny nose and chills.
These symptoms usually come on suddenly, and are severe. However,
because other respiratory viruses have some of the same or similar
symptoms, it is impossible to confirm a diagnosis of the influenza virus
without laboratory testing.
Is the flu dangerous?
people who are healthy, influenza represents a few days of discomfort
and few if any complications. However, for people with chronic
illnesses, and those aged 65 and older, serious complications can occur
that can require hospitalization and possibly cause death.
Is vomiting part of the flu?
vomiting, and diarrhea can be associated with the influenza virus,
especially in children. However, the flu does not typically cause these
symptoms for adults. If you experience these symptoms, they could be
caused by other viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Will antibiotics cure the flu?
Influenza is a
specific virus. It is not a bacterial infection. Antibiotics like
penicillin cure bacterial infections but will not cure any virus. There
is currently no cure for the influenza virus, but vaccines are
How can I avoid getting the flu?
Source: WebMD If you have specific questions about influenza or the flu vaccine contact your doctor or pharmacist.