Flu 411: What to know
Flu shot will only reduce your risk by about 60 percent, according to chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Flu 411: What to know.
5 questions about the flu:
Q: What is the flu?
A: The flu is classified as a "contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses," according to the CDC. Similar to a good old-fashioned cold, it infects the nose, throat and lungs. The severity of the flu can range from mild to severe, according to the CDC.
Q: How does the flu spread?
A: The virus is most likely to be spread when infected people cough, sneeze or talk, according to the CDC. Although it’s less likely, people can pick up the virus by merely touching a surface with the virus and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
Q: How can I protect myself?
A: The CDC advises the best possible defense against the virus is getting the flu vaccine. It’s not too late to get a flu shot, but be aware: it doesn’t protect you 100 percent, and it does take two weeks to go into effect. A flu shot will only reduce your risk by about 60 percent, according to Dr. Gupta. Washing your hands frequently and staying at home if you feel sick can also cut down on transferring the virus to friends, family members or co-workers.
Q: When should I seek immediate medical attention if I begin feeling sick?
A: If you are short of breath or can’t keep fluids down, see a doctor as soon as possible to avoid complications from dehydration, according to Dr. David Zich, an internal medicine and emergency medicine physician.
Q: How do I tell the difference between the cold and flu?
A: The CDC warns the two have several similar symptoms. Going to the doctor and being tested for the flu within the first few days of feeling sick are the only way to know for sure. If you’re still left asking is it a cold or flu, this guidemay help.
If you’re looking for a flu shot, check the flu vaccine finder at flu.gov.
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