Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Illness usually begins one to five days after exposure and lasts two to seven days.
Viruses are commonly spread by coughing and sneezing.
Anyone can get it. The elderly, the very young and those with chronic medical problems are considered to be at highest risk.
Five to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu each year. The latest data from the CDC says an average of more than 200,000 are hospitalized by the flu each year; 36,000 die of complications annually.
Those with the flu should rest and drink lots of fluids. There are available treatments for types A and B.
More than one type of flu circulates each year, so people can get sick more than once a flu season.
Ways to prevent the flu:
Get vaccinated each fall.
Prescription antiviral drugs (amantadine, rimantadine and oseltamivir) are approved and available for use in preventing flu.
Avoid close contact with those with flu symptoms. If you are ill, stay home.
Cover you mouth with a tissue when coughing of sneezing.
Wash your hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
For more information, contact your local public health center or visit the following Web sites: www.cdc.gov or www.akepi.org.
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