Influenza, Better Known as the Flu


Influenza, better known as the flu, is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by an influenza virus. There are many different influenza viruses that can cause the flu and these viruses often change from season to season resulting in a new flu strain.

The flu illness can vary from mild to severe including hospitalization. While the illness can be serious even in people who are otherwise healthy, it can be especially dangerous for young children, the elderly, and those individuals who may have a chronic medical condition such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

Flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, mouth or nose.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. People with the flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after.

Prevention is the Key to Protecting Yourself from the Flu

  • A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses (CDC 2010).
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading the flu to others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • If you become ill with flu-like symptoms you should:
    • Stay home for at least 24 hours until after your fever is gone without the use of anti-fever medication
    • Drink plenty of fluids and get extra rest.
    • Seek the care of your physician if symptoms worsen or don’t subside in several days.

Flu Facts

  • Flu season often begins in November, peaks in February, and can last until spring or even early May
  • The flu can be very dangerous for the young, old, and those with other medical conditions such as asthma or heart failure
  • The Flu vaccine provides protection (immunity) for about a year
  • The 11-12 Flu vaccine provides protection against three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season
  • It takes approximately 2 weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immunity
  • The effectiveness of the flu vaccine is 70%-90% in healthy adults provided that the flu strain matches the vaccine
  • Who should get vaccinated? The CDC now recommends ANYONE older than 6 months who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu!!!!
  • As many as 36,000 adults are estimated to die each year from a flu-related illness such as pneumonia
  • Each year about 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications, like pneumonia

Flu Vaccine

Flu shots are now available at Southwest Family Physicians!

Protect yourself!

Schedule your flu shot today!

Call (440) 816-2761 to make an appointment.

Flu shots can also be given during your routine physician appointment.


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