What is the Flu (Influenza)?
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. (Centers for Disease Control and Preventon, 2017)
Signs and Symptoms of Flu
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually: Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore Throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Muscle or Body Aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Vomiting or Diarrhea (more common in young children
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
When is my child Contagious?
You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Although people with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins, some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.
When Can My Child Go Back To School After Having The Flu?
Please keep your child home from school for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone (fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine) and/or they have been vomit or diarrhea free for 24 hours.