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What is the flu?

Flu season comes around every year but have you ever wondered what is the flu? By definition, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by different influenza viruses each year. There are two main types of influenza viruses: Type A and B. Both are behind the annual influenza epidemic that hits the United States every year. Both types can cause coughing, sniffling, body aches and a high fever. Read on to learn more important information about the flu.


What causes the flu?

Type A and B influenza viruses are what cause the main outbreaks of the flu each year. Type A can be found in animals such as such as ducks, chickens, pigs and whales; type B is only found in humans. Both types are most commonly spread by droplets that enter the air when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person with the flu can spread it to someone else that is up to about six feet away. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

The most common symptoms of the flu are a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, head and body aches.

How long does the flu last?

How long the flu lasts can vary but for most people, it takes anywhere between a few days and two weeks to fully recover.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

The main difference between a cold and the flu is that the flu is caused by very different virus types than a cold. Flu symptoms tend to be much worse than cold symptoms, and they come on suddenly (cold symptoms, on the other hand, tend to arrive gradually). When you’re hit with the flu, you know it. You can expect to have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills, and aching muscles and joints. Colds, on the other hand, are usually associated with a sore throat and runny nose. Colds are much more common than the flu.

How can I prevent getting the flu?

A flu shot can keep you from catching the flu. Scientists create a new vaccine each year based off research showing which influenza viruses will be the most common. Often, the vaccine includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses.

Another good way to prevent getting the flu is to wash your hands frequently since the virus can spread if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your nose or mouth. Avoid touching your face, and wash your hands with soap and water several times a day. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available. It’s also a good idea to practice healthy habits like getting plenty of sleep and exercise, managing your stress, drinking lots of fluids and eating healthy foods.


Is the flu contagious?

The flu is highly contagious. A person with the flu can spread it to someone else that is up to about six feet away. The flu is contagious up to one day before symptoms even arise, so if you think you have it, be sure to limit contact with others. Once you’re on the mend, keep in mind that the infection can continue to spread for five to seven days after you get sick so it’s important to continue taking cautionary measures.

How can I treat the flu?

Most people will recover from the flu on their own. In the meantime, taking over-the-counter medications can help ease your symptoms. Although NyQuil and DayQuil do not cure the flu, they can help you feel better. NyQuil Cold & Flu and DayQuil Cold & Flu are both good options since they contain a pain reliever/fever reducer and cough suppressant. NyQuil Cold & Flu also relieves runny nose and DayQuil Cold & Flu also relieves nasal congestion. If you’re suffering from additional symptoms, try NyQuil COMPLETE Cold & Flu, which also contains a nasal decongestant and DayQuil COMPLETE Cold & Flu, which contains an expectorant to help loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to make coughs more productive.



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