The flu is as an upper respiratory disease or infection that is caused by different strains of the influenza virus. Every year 15-40% of people in the U.S. develop the flu. Annually there are about 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations due to the flu or complications linked to the flu.
1 AnswerSampson Davis, MD, Emergency Medicine, answered
1 AnswerFlu may be a threat to your health during flu season, and it is a particular concern for pregnant women who may be at risk for more serious complications from the flu. To help reduce your chances of infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these steps:
- Flu vaccines for all pregnant women in any trimester of pregnancy. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists along with seven other leading national maternal and infant health organizations say that getting your flu shot is an essential part of prenatal care. If flu vaccines are not offered by your obstetrics practice, they are widely available from multiple sources, such as drugstores and workplaces. Protecting yourself against the flu by getting the flu vaccine while you're pregnant provides protection for your unborn baby as well.
- Wash your hands well and often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who could be sick with the flu.
- Ask your healthcare professional about any other specific steps you should take while pregnant.
1 AnswerIf you are pregnant, you should call your healthcare provider immediately if you have flu symptoms to determine if you need to be seen. Don't guess about what's causing your symptoms. Ask your healthcare professional for guidance.
Report any of the following symptoms right away: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, decreased or no movement of your baby or a high fever that doesn't respond to medication recommended by your healthcare professional.
1 AnswerIt's not unusual for the flu to lead to pneumonia. These cases of pneumonia result when bacteria, viruses and other organisms invade the lungs and cause them to become inflamed. The body's defense mechanisms ordinarily prevent these bacteria from reaching the lungs, but when the defenses are weakened by the flu, severe pneumonia may develop. Bacterial pneumonia symptoms will appear after you start feeling like you're recovering from the flu. A brief period of improvement is followed by the sudden onset of:
- High fever
- Shaking chills
- Chest pain with each breath
- A continuous hacking cough that produces thick, yellow-greenish-colored phlegm, or sputum; or sputum with blood in it
- Extreme weakness and fatigue
1 AnswerVaccination is the first line of defense against the flu. Adults and children over six months of age should have a flu vaccine annually. The flu vaccine helps the body build antibodies that provide you with immunity to the flu. However, the flu vaccine is not 100% effective. If you get vaccinated but still come down with the flu, ask your doctor about prescription antiviral medications. Antivirals attack the virus at the source and can help you feel better faster. It is important to remember that antivirals must be taken within 12 to 48 hours of symptom onset for optimal effectiveness.
1 AnswerInfluenza, or the flu, is a viral disease of the respiratory tract -- the nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs. The flu is highly contagious and is spread though airborne droplets of moisture produced when someone with the flu coughs or sneezes. When you breathe in these germs, you may come down with the flu, generally within one to four days of being exposed.
2 AnswersUCLA Health answeredThere are a number of non-medication suggestions to alleviate the symptoms of colds and coughs in children.
- Encourage your child to drink a lot of fluids.
- Place a cool-mist humidifier in the room to increase air moisture.
- Use a bulb syringe to suck out any excess mucus (for children under 2 years old).
- Elevate your child's head in bed to improve nasal drainage.
- Use saline drops in the nose to loosen mucus.
- Use steam from a hot shower to help congestion.
- Give your child honey with tea (for children over age 1).
1 AnswerUCLA Health answeredMost cold and cough symptoms will last 7 to 10 days, with or without treatment, so don’t expect a quick fix with medications. Parents often feel helpless when their child is sick and turn to medications and antibiotics for a "cure-all." Parents tend to overmedicate their kids in the hope that it will make them feel better faster. However, nothing makes a cold go away faster than rest and letting the cold cure itself.