3855 Trueman Court | Hilliard, Ohio | 43026
Hilliard Pediatrics, Inc. - Dr. Tricia Lucin, MD
The flu is caused by the Influenza family of viruses, typically Flu A or B. Although some people will occasionally refer to vomiting and diarrhea as “the flu”, Influenza is actually a respiratory illness. The flu occurs yearly, typically during winter months and is spread by contact with respiratory germs (coughing, sneezing, etc) and contaminated objects (dirty surfaces, unwashed hands). This virus causes symptoms typically within 1-4 days of contact, and can be contagious before symptoms begin, making Influenza highly contagious.
There are several ways to prevent yourself and your family from the misery of the flu. First, and always applicable, is good handwashing. Avoidance of people with illness, staying home if you are sick, and mask-wearing can all be helpful, but as noted above, the virus is contagious before symptoms strike, thus these are not foolproof methods to stay well. Last, but likely the best, is the yearly flu vaccine. Vaccine efficacy changes from year to year because the strains of flu in the community are always changing, but typically yield somewhere between 30-70% immunity for the season (ie, you need to get it yearly!). Personally, I’ll take even a 50% reduction in my chances of getting the flu! (Plus, in most studies, people with the worst symptoms and bad outcomes tend to be those who weren’t vaccinated. That means that if you do get the flu after vaccination, your symptoms probably won’t be quite so bad.)
What happens if you or your loved ones get the flu? Well, buckle up for a few rough days. Fevers can be up to 105 degrees, body aches, chills, extra fatigue, deep cough, sneezing, sore throat, and vomiting can all be common for 4-6 days. You are going to need to drink lots of extra fluids, and probably take acetaminophen and ibuprofen to relieve your symptoms just a little. And you will likely sleep a lot, otherwise feeling like you were hit by a truck. Not fun. You definitely need an office visit if fevers last longer than 5-6 days, you have trouble breathing, or symptoms get worse after they start to get better.
Last Updated: 03/2019