Eight Flu Facts for the Back to School Season

Back to School Flu FactsNow that kids have gone back to school, parents should take precautions to protect against flu outbreaks. To better understand the risks and available preventative options, learn some important facts about flu season.
When Is Flu Season?
Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and March. That said, the actual timing of flu season can be somewhat unpredictable and can vary from season to season in different parts of the country.
What Exactly Is the Flu?
Caused by the influenza virus, the flu is a respiratory illness that affects the throat, nose and lungs. It can cause mild or severe illnesses and, in some cases, even death.
What Are the Symptoms?
Influenza usually causes a number of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Cough
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue

In some instances, the flu can cause vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more typical in children.
How Does it Spread?
Influenza is an airborne virus that mainly spreads by droplets created when infected people sneeze, cough or talk. It’s also possible to contract the flu by touching a surface tainted with the virus.
How Can I Prevent the Flu?
The single best way to reduce your risk is by getting an annual flu vaccine. This helps to create antibodies that will make you immune to the most common strain of the virus.
Will the Vaccine Protect Against All Types of Flu?
Each seasonal flu vaccine is formulated to protect against the most common strain from the previous season. That said, it may or may not provide protection against variant strains. This is why it’s so important to get a new flu vaccine each year.
Is There a Cure?
Currently, there is no cure for the flu; however, your doctor can prescribe an antiviral medication that can help minimize symptoms if taken during the early stages of infection.
When Can My Child Return to School?
To avoid causing flu outbreaks, it’s important for parents to keep their children home until they are completely well. Most children are no longer contagious approximately 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

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