The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. This information is from the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
Signs and Symptoms of Flu
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.
How Flu Spreads
- Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Period of Contagiousness
- You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Although people with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins, some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.
Onset of Symptoms
The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus and infected to when symptoms begin is about 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.
Complications of Flu
Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
PLEASE READ: If your child develops symptoms of the flu, PLEASE keep them home from school. They must be fever free without the use of medication (Tylenol or Ibuprofen) for 24 hours before their return to school. If they have had diarrhea or vomiting, they must be free of this for 24 hours before they return to school. Remind your children to cover their cough and wash their hands. Contact your child’s health care provider with any questions or concerns.