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, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
- a sudden fever – a temperature of 38°C or above
- an aching body
- feeling tired or exhausted
- a dry cough
- a sore throat
- a headache
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- diarrhea or tummy pain
- nausea and being sick
The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active. To help you get better more quickly:
- rest and sleep
- keep warm
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
- drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your urine should be light yellow or clear)
- be careful not to use flu remedies if you’re taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose.
How to avoid spreading the flu?
Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You’re more likely to give it to others in the first five days and is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of spreading flu:
- wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
- throw used tissues as quickly as possible
- the flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others. It’s more effective to get the vaccine before the start of the flu season (December to March)
When Should children stay home?
Parents should be informed that any child with respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, or sore throat) and fever should be kept at home during flu season. The child can return after the fever has resolved without fever-reducing medicines and when, he/she is able to participate in activities.
See your doctor if
- you’re worried about your baby’s or child’s symptoms
- you’re 65 or over
- you’re pregnant
- you have a long-term medical condition
- you have a weakened immune system
- your symptoms do not improve after seven days
- develop sudden chest pain
- have difficulty breathing
- start coughing out blood