What is it? – Influenza, better known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. Those with compromised immune systems such as very young children, older people, pregnant mothers and the sick are more prone to complications of the flu.
How does it spread? – Coughing, sneezing, contact with infected saliva or through touching something touched by an infected person then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
Incubation/ infectious period – Adults can be infectious 1 to 2 days before the onset of symptoms and 5 to 7 days thereafter. Those with compromised immune systems will be infectious for a longer period of time.
First signs and symptoms – Cold–like symptoms such as runny nose and sore throat, fever, head and body aches and tiredness. In rare cases diarrhoea and vomiting may be present.
Preventive measures – For a generally healthy child or adult, following safety measures such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water or sanitising your hands.
Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, wearing a surgical mask if you are with someone who has the flu, and not sending children with the flu to school will help prevent the virus from spreading.
Those with compromised immune systems, may consider the flu shot.