What is the flu?
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. The flu is highly contagious and has the possibility of causing additional medical complications, including pneumonia as well as heightening existing conditions such as asthma.
Signs and symptoms to look out for
Have you been in contact with someone who already has the flu? Chances are you are likely to get it too. Look out for the following symptoms and signs:
- Sneezing or a runny nose
- Body aches
- A sore throat
Such symptoms will commonly persist for a couple of days. However, if your symptoms continue for a prolonged period of time, visit a general health practitioner. If needed, antiviral drugs can be prescribed.
How to prevent the flu
It is highly recommended that all people from 6 months of age receive an annual flu vaccination. As the vaccine is not always completely effective, follow our tips with how to reduce your likeliness of receiving the flu:
- Prevent the spread of germs by covering your cough and washing your hands with soap and water
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs
- Keep your hands away from your face
- Get lots of sleep and stay warm in the cold weather
How to treat it
Most people with the flu will not require medical attention. In such mild cases, stay at home, get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids and avoid contact with other people, particularly if they themselves are sick.
However, if you are in a high-risk group (young children, people over the age of 65, people with certain existing medical conditions and pregnant women) or feel your symptoms worsening, contact a healthcare professional immediately.
Lastly, seek emergency medical attention immediately if you or your child are experiencing emergency warning signs associated with the flu. Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness and confusion
- Severe vomiting
- Children with a rash or bluish coloured skin