Symptoms can begin about 2 days (but can range from 1 to 4 days) after the virus enters the body. That means that 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.Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those people may still spread the virus to others. (CDC)
How can I prevent this?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. (CDC)
- Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others. (CDC)
- Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. (CDC)
- Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. (CDC)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. (CDC)
- Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. (CDC)
I think I have the flu, now what?
Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. (CDC)
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
If you suspect you have the flu, you should go to your primary care physician, urgent care or nearest ER. Please wear a mask when at these places to avoid the possible spread of the flu. Remember those at risk people mentioned above, do your best to protect them. Also, you must start antiviral treatment within 48 hrs of becoming sick. The medication has a better offensive advantage when taken early.
Prescription Antiviral Medication
|Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)||taken twice daily for 5 days||Approved from as young as full-term infants to older adults|
Recommended for treatment of pregnant women
|Most common side effect is nausea and vomiting||Lower doses available for those with impaired renal function|
|Zanamivir (Relenza)||taken twice daily for 5 days||Inhaled formulation||Most common side effect is bronchospasm ||Not recommended for patients with COPD or asthma|
|Peramivir (Rapivab)||given intravenously over a period of 15 to 30 minutes||Approved for ages 2 years old and above||Infusion can be repeated if needed |
Lower doses available for those with impaired renal function
|Most common side effects is diarrhea|
|Baloxavir (Xofluza)||given as a single oral dose||Approved for ages 12 years old and above||Weight based dose||Not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, outpatients with complicated or progressive illness, or hospitalized patients|
The antiviral medications work by either blocking the replication of the flu virus or stopping the release of viral particles. Essentially, if the virus can’t continue to grow at a faster rate than one’s immune system can fight it off, eventually it will die. Thus shortening the life span of the flu. Without the antiviral medication you might have felt sick for more than five days. Although taking the antiviral medication doesn’t guarantee that the symptoms will disappear in five days. This happens largely in part because of timing. How fast you got diagnosed and started treatment or how long the virus sat idle lurking inside of you waiting for the right time to strike. Every patient is different! I can’t stress this enough when I counsel patients. Don’t compare your bodies response to the vaccine or antiviral medication treatment to someone else.
Cold and flu medications can be used to help alleviate the symptoms of the flu. Over the counter cold and flu medication will not make the flu “go away”. Those medications will help with the symptoms alone. Be careful to monitor the amount of tylenol aka acetaminophen in these products because the daily recommended maximum is ONLY 3,000 milligrams (mg) or 3 grams (g).
Which viruses will this years flu vaccine protect me against?
For 2019-2020, trivalent (three-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:
- A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
- A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus
Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain:
- the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.
Yes, remember, you could have already been in contact with the flu virus but you were not showing symptoms yet. Also keep in mind that the flu vaccine protects you against the three or four most common flu virus expected to impact your region.
As my biology professor would say: virus are living tiny creatures out here trying to survive just like you. A virus needs a host (aka you) in order to live. It ain’t the virus fault, it’s just trying to find a nice place to call home
Can I still get the flu even if I got the vaccine?-asking for a friend