What is the flu?
A respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus
What are the symptoms?
Coughing, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes
Some people, particularly children, may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
How do I get the flu?
When the flu virus comes into contact with your mouth, nose or eyes
The virus can live for as long as 48 hours on surfaces an infected person has touched
Most people are infectious for about a week, children could be longer
Where can I contract the flu?
You can get the flu anywhere
Flu season usually runs from late fall through to spring in the northern hemisphere
It runs from April to October in the southern hemisphere
Outbreaks at other times of the year also happen and in the tropics the flu virus is active year round
What vaccines are available?
A new flu vaccine is created every year based on the strains of influenza that are predicted to be active
The vaccine is usually available in October
How many shots will I need?
A single shot
Will I need a booster?
But you should be vaccinated every year as the strain varies year to year
How can I prevent the flu?
Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water
Use alcohol-based hand gel if soap and water are not available
Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your arm or sleeve, not into your hand
Avoid touching your face
Keep shared surfaces and items like doorknobs and telephones clean and disinfected
Stay home if you’re sick
What is the treatment for the flu?
Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest
Most people recover on their own within 10 days
There is no effective drug treatment for the flu