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Flu Season This Year: Flu Vaccines, Types of Flu & Flu Symptoms
Make sure to get your flu shot and read up on the types of flu, flu symptoms and other information, such as when to see a doctor. Think you have the flu and need medical attention? Schedule a virtual appointment with a UH doctor.
Think you have the flu?
UH can get you the care you need.
UH Virtual VisitThink you may have flu symptoms but aren't 100% sure? Make a virtual appointment using your phone or laptop.
What to Do If You Have the Flu
Most people with the flu should rest at home and do not need treatment for flu. You can take over-the-counter flu medicine for symptom relief.
If you are in the group that is more likely to have complication from the flu (very young, over 55, pregnant or have chronic medical problems), your doctor may prescribe flu medicine called antiviral drugs for flu treatment. Antiviral drugs can make the flu milder, shorten the illness and may also prevent serious complications. However, you need to take the drug within 48 hours after symptoms appear. If you are in the group above, contact your provider or go to an urgent care to receive treatment for the flu.
Flu or Cold?
Those who have the flu will often feel some or all the symptoms related to the illness. But not everyone with the flu will have a fever. If you aren't sure whether or not you have flu-like symptoms, check out our guide on flu symptoms vs. cold symptoms.
Cold vs. Viral Gastroenteritis vs. Flu
Because the flu, viral gastroenteritis and the common cold often have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference. Keep in mind that you'll usually have to visit a doctor within the first few days of your illness to determine whether or not you have the flu. In the meantime, it's good to have a basic understanding of some of the most common symptoms related to each illness and how to tell the difference between them.
Think You Have The Flu? It Just Might Be Viral Gastroenteritis
If you're experiencing nausea, vomiting, chills or watery diarrhea, you may have viral gastroenteritis. This illness causes inflammation, swelling and irritation of the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract. While often referred to as the "stomach flu," the seasonal flu virus does not actually cause viral gastroenteritis.
A common illness that's often mistaken for the flu, viral gastroenteritis typically lasts only a few days and doesn't usually require treatment. Due to the loss of fluids from diarrhea and vomiting, dehydration is usually the biggest concern. So, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Read up on the full symptoms and causes of viral gastroenteritis to learn more.
With flu season in full swing, the number of flu cases and people seeking medical care for the flu or flu-like illnesses across the United States is on the increase, and we are starting to see this in Ohio.
When and Where to Get a Flu Shot
If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine, it’s not too late – flu season will last until the end of March and cases occur as late as May. This year’s seasonal flu shot is targeted at the types of flu that are the most common right now, as well as two other strains in circulation.
How long will it take to be protected after getting the flu vaccine? About two weeks. Some people who get the flu vaccine still get sick, but studies have shown that these people will have a less severe illness. And myth alert: You cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine.
To get the flu shot, contact your UH primary care physician, or, if you don’t have one, find a UH doctor online from the region’s largest primary care network.
How the Flu Spreads
- Virus-Containing Droplets
Flu viruses spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk, which spreads virus-containing droplets. These droplets can infect others up to six feet away.
- By Touching
You also can get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it, and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. So wash your hands often.
- When Am I Infectious?
If you have the flu, you can infect others one day before symptoms appear and up to five to seven days after you get sick.
See a Physician Without Leaving The House With UH Virtual Visit
Get virtual appointments whenever, wherever you need them for non-emergency medical conditions using your phone, laptop or PC. Schedule one today.
When to See the Doctor for the Flu
Do not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill. But do go if you experience these emergency warning signs:
- In Adults
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- In Children
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluid
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Fever with a rash
- In Infants
Get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
- Unable to eat
- Trouble breathing
- No tears when crying
- Significantly fewer wet diapers than usual
Learn more about flu symptoms in kids.
What is Influenza?
The flu is caused by viruses that are passed from person to person through the air.
Influenza in Children
Most children are ill with the flu for less than a week. But those with more serious illness may need to be treated in the hospital.
What is Acute Bronchitis?
An inflammation of the breathing tubes, it causes increased mucus production and other changes.
Test Your Knowledge About the Flu
Take our quiz.