Benjamin Franklin famously said that only two things in life were certain: death and taxes.
To be prepared, you must have the right information.
Reading the well-meaning advice from your friends on Facebook isn’t the best strategy for staying healthy during flu season, yet millions of Americans tend to do just that. We’ve compiled a short quiz to make sure you have the answers you need as flu season approaches. Answers are found at the end of this post.
1. Is the flu accompanied by a fever?
2. The flu is transmitted by:
C. CONTACT WITH A SURFACE EXPOSED TO THE FLU VIRUS
D. ALL OF THE ABOVE
3. Are you able to transmit the flu before you realize you’re sick?
A. YES, BEGINNING 1 DAY BEFORE YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS.
B. NO, YOU’RE ONLY CONTAGIOUS WHILE YOU’RE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS.
C. ONLY IF YOU’VE NEVER HAD THE FLU BEFORE.
4. Which of the following are at greater risk for flu-related complications?
A. YOUNG CHILDREN
C. MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN
5. Flu-related complications include:
B. PAINFUL KNEES
C. BLURRY VISION
D. ALL OF THE ABOVE
6. Who from the following list should NOT get a flu vaccination:
A. THOSE WHO ARE TRAVELING ABROAD
B. THOSE WHO HAVE HAD SINUS SURGERY
C. THOSE WHO HAVE HAD GUILLIAN-BARRE SYNDROME
D. FALSE. EVERYONE SHOULD GET A FLU SHOT—NO EXCEPTIONS
7. Flu season typically peaks in the United States in:
8. True or false: The flu vaccine can give you the flu.
9. True or false: The “stomach flu” is another type of flu.
10. Which of the following is NOT a symptom of the flu:
B. SORE THROAT
E. BODY ACHES
F. A RASH
1. C. Sometimes.
Not everyone with the flu has a fever.
2. D. All of the above
The flu is transferred through droplets, meaning if someone sneezes or coughs, and you have contact with that person, you could be exposed to the flu virus.
3. A. Yes, beginning 1 day before you have symptoms.
Even before you even know you’re sick, you’re able to pass the virus on to others. You’re also contagious for five-to-seven days after you’ve become sick. Some – such as those with weakened immune systems or young children—may be able to infect others for longer.
4. A. Young children
Children younger than five—but particularly younger than two—are at greater risk of flu complications. Other groups at high risk include:
• Those over age 65
• Those with compromised immune systems
• Pregnant women
• Those in long-term nursing facilities
5. A. Pneumonia
There are several conditions that can result from the flu—pneumonia is only one of them. Others include inflammation of the heart muscles or brain. In extreme cases, the flu can cause respiratory and kidney failure.
Not all flu complications are this serious. More moderate complications include ear and sinus infections.
If you believe you may be at risk for some of these complications, speak with an internal medicine doctor.
6. C. Those who have had Guillian Barre Syndrome.
Guillian Barre Syndrome is a disorder where the immune system attacks nerve cells. The resulting muscle weakness and paralysis may last for several weeks.
While it’s important to have the flu vaccine, not everyone should get it. Those with the following conditions should speak with their primary care physician in Raleigh first:
• An egg allergy
• An allergy to any substance in the vaccine. This may include antibiotics, or gelatin
• A moderate-to-severe illness with or without fever
• Children who are younger than 6 months should not have the flu shot
7. B. January
Flu seasons are unpredictable, and outbreaks can occur as early as October. However, in the U.S., it typically peaks in January.
The viruses are made with “inactivated” flu viruses or even no viruses at all. Neither can the nasal spray flu vaccine give you the flu.
While the words “stomach flu” and “flu” may be used interchangeably, they are very different illnesses. Both can include symptoms of vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. However, those problems are rarely the main symptoms of the flu. The flu is primarily a respiratory disease, causing coughing and a sore throat.
10. F. A rash
Typically, a rash is not a symptom of the flu, but it may be indicative of another health condition. If you have a rash, it’s important to seek medical help.
The main symptoms of the flu include:
• Stuffy nose
• Sore throat
• Body / muscle aches
Vomiting and diarrhea can be a symptom, but this is much more common in children than adults. In addition, not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
Don’t wait till the last minute!
Your general practitioner has answers to your questions about the seasonal flu, and vaccinations are available at any of our practices. It’s especially important to schedule an appointment if you’re a member of one of the groups at high risk for developing flu complications.
If you have any questions about the seasonal flu, you should speak to your general practitioner. You can even track nationwide flu cases by visiting the Centers for Disease Control’s flu tracker map.