Comal County Public Health Influenza Information
The best way to prevent the flu is to get a influenza vaccine. Even if you have not had your vaccine, practice the following recommendations to stay healthy.
Avoid contact with people who are ill.
Do not eat or drink after anyone.
Wash your hands frequently
Keep your hands away from your face—your nose, mouth, and eyes are portals into your body.
Keep healthy—eat right and get enough rest. This will help your body and your immune system fight off disease.
Dress appropriately for the weather.
Keep your clothing and body clean.
In times of disease outbreaks, avoid large crowds or crowded conditions.
Infants should be kept away from any ill person. Avoid any unnecessary contact with crowds.
How the Influenza Virus Is Passed Around
The flu is spread, or transmitted, when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes, or speaks and sends flu virus into the air, . and other people inhale the virus. The virus enters the nose, throat, or lungs of a person and begins to multiply, causing symptoms of influenza. Influenza may, less often, be spread when a person touches a surface that has flu viruses on it – a door handle, for instance – and then touches his or her nose or mouth.
The Flu Is Contagious?
A person can spread the flu starting one day before he or she feels sick. Adults can continue to pass the flu virus to others for another three to seven days after symptoms start. Children can pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons can still spread the virus to others.
How To Know if You Have the Flu?
Your respiratory illness might be the flu if you have sudden onset of body aches, fever, and respiratory symptoms, and your illness occurs during November through April (the usual flu season in the Northern Hemisphere). However, during this time, other respiratory illnesses can cause similar symptoms and flu can be caught at any time of the year. It is impossible to tell for sure if you have the flu based on symptoms alone. Doctors can perform tests to see if you have the flu if you are in the first few days of your illness.
What You Should Do If You Get the Flu
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Avoid using alcohol and tobacco
- Take medication to relieve the symptoms of flu
Influenza is caused by a virus, so antibiotics (like penicillin) don’t work to cure it. The best way to prevent the flu is to get an influenza vaccine (flu shot) each fall, before flu season.
Do Not Give Aspirin To a Child or Teenager Who Has the Flu
Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms – and particularly fever – without first speaking to . your doctor. Giving aspirin to children and teenagers who have influenza can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome. Children or teenagers with the flu should get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, and take medicines that contain no aspirin to relieve symptoms.
The Myth of the "Stomach Flu"
Many people use the term "stomach flu – to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria, or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or "sick to your stomach" can sometimes be related to the flu (particularly in children), these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.
Comal County Public Health, 830-221-1150