Flu Virus Still Around: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2009 H1N1 virus will continue to spread for years to come, similar to a regular seasonal influenza virus. The CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Children younger than 9 years of age being vaccinated against flu for the first time need two doses of vaccine. Parents and pediatricians are encouraged to ensure that these children receive their second dose of vaccine.
- The seasonal flu is contagious and can cause mild to severe illness; and in some cases can lead to death.
- Type A and B flu viruses cause epidemics in the United States every year.
- The symptoms for the common cold and the seasonal flu are similar.
- Get vaccinated to protect yourself from the flu. If you do get sick, follow the treatment advice listed below.
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It spreads from person-to-person and can cause mild to severe illness; and in some cases, can lead to death.
- In the United States, yearly outbreaks of seasonal flu usually happen during the fall through early spring.
- The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.
- Deaths from flu-related causes range from 3,300 to 48,600 (average 23,600) a year.
- Some groups are more likely to have complications from the seasonal flu. These include:
- those age 65 and older
- children younger than 2 years old
- people of any age who have chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, lung disease)
- Complications from the flu can include:
- bacterial pneumonia
- ear or sinus infections
- worsening of chronic medical conditions
Every year in the United States, on average:
- 5 to 20 percent of the population get the flu
- More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications
- Deaths from flu-related causes range from 3,300 to 48,600 (average 23,600)
There are three types of flu viruses; A, B and C. The A and B viruses cause epidemics (widespread outbreaks in a country) of infection in people every year in the United States.
- Type C infections cause mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics.
- Type A viruses are divided into subtypes. Subtypes of type A that have been found in people worldwide include H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 viruses.
- Flu viruses are constantly changing. A global flu pandemic (worldwide outbreak) can happen if three conditions are met:
- A new subtype of type A virus is introduced into the human population.
- The virus causes serious illness in humans.
- The virus can spread easily from person-to-person in a sustained manner.
- The H1N1 Flu met all three conditions and caused a worldwide outbreak. In late spring 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that a H1N1 flu pandemic was underway. Over a year later, on August 10, 2010, WHO declared that the world was in a post-pandemic stage.
|Common Symptoms||Possible Symptoms|
These symptoms may occur, but are more likely in children than adults:
Is it a Cold or the Flu?
Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.
- Flu and the common cold have similar symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat). It can be difficult to tell the difference between them.
- Your doctor can give you a flu test within the first few days of your illness to determine whether you have the flu.
- In general, the flu is worse than the common cold.
- Symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense with the flu.
- Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.
- Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
Prevention & Treatment
Get Vaccinated. Vaccination is the best protection against contracting the flu. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the 2010-2011 season vaccine is available in your area. For more information on vaccination go to flu.gov.
If you do contract the flu, talk to your doctor about antivirals. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that can be used for prevention or treatment of flu viruses. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.
Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100°F or 37.8°C) or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®).
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
Environmental Health and Safety Office
Truckee Meadows Community College
7000 Dandini Boulevard, RDMT 329
Reno, Nevada 89512-3999
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