Flu (short for influenza) is a common viral illness that is spread via coughing and sneezing. Flu can be caught all-year round, but it is more common during winter.
The flu is different from the common cold in that it is caused by a different virus, and has more severe and longer-lasting symptoms.
Exposure to individuals carrying the flu virus
Exposure to surfaces that have been in contact with infected virus droplets
Muscles that ache
Pain in the limbs or joints
Sore throat or sneezing
Upset stomach or diarrhoea
Dry and/or chesty cough
Loss of appetite
If necessary take paracetamol to lower high temperatures and relieve body aches
Wash hands thoroughly
Clean surfaces before using them
If you are fit and healthy there is usually no need to see a doctor. Remain warm and hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and if necessary take paracetamol to relieve fever symptoms.
general practitioner if:
You are 65 years old and above
Have a long-term medical condition, such as kidney, heart, lung or neurological disease, or diabetes
Have a compromised or weakened immune system
Video: What is the Flu? HealthiNation
Video: The Flu, Dr Harold Standiford, University of Maryland School of Medicine
RESOURCES & SUPPORT
Ministry of Health – Influenza HealthEd – The Difference Between Influenza and a Cold National Influenza Specialist Group FightFlu.co.nz Auckland Regional Public Health Service – Influenza
NHS – Flu World Health Organization – Influenza Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
British Medical Journal Journal of the American Medical Association The Lancet
Topix.com – Influenza Forum
DISCLAIMERThe information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic, with links to local and international resources that may be of interest. We do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date.
You should always, however, seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your
general practitioner first.
Updated April 2012
Image source: Wikimedia Commons – Influenza