What is the flu?
Influenza, or the flu, is a common viral infection.
Author: Idan Ben-Barak
First answered: 03 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.9/5 Votes: 915
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The common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, headaches, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, a runny or stuffed nose, dry cough, sore throat and muscle and joint pain.
The flu is caused by an influenza virus. The virus can evolve rapidly, developing into new strains on a regular basis.
Anyone can develop the flu. People at a particular risk of serious illness and complications include elderly people, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic health problems.
Your doctor will normally diagnose the flu by its symptoms. Laboratory tests may be performed to verify the specific strain of virus that is causing the flu.
The flu is treated by staying at home in bed, drinking plenty of fluids and keeping warm. Medications for relieving the symptoms may help alleviate the discomfort. Antiviral medications can be also be used under certain circumstances.
The flu is very contagious, infecting others via the droplets that escape an infected person during sneezing or coughing.
The best way to prevent the flu is by having an annual influenza vaccination. Other ways of minimizing infection with an influenza virus is by avoiding infected people, keeping your hands and your surroundings clean and disinfected, and maintaining good nutrition …