The flu which is medically termed as Influenza is an extremely contagious viral infection affecting the respiratory system caused by Influenza type A. B, or C virus. Flu infection tends to spread at a prodigious pace through saliva when an affected individual coughs or sneezes. Kissing, using and sharing utensils of an affected individual can also cause an individual to get the flu.
There are not many illnesses that tend to be more annoying and unpleasant than the flu. The aches and pain that it causes, the cough, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and the other symptoms consistent with this illness all add to the agony that an individual goes through when he or she has the flu.
The symptoms can affect an individual in such a way that he or she is bound to ask the question as to How Long Does the Flu Last.
How Long Does The Flu Last?
In majority of the cases, when the flu strikes a normally healthy individual, then it stays for a rather short periods of time and resolves on its own with the help of the immune system of the body fighting off the infection. The onset of flu symptoms varies from one to four days after exposure to the infection. The symptoms of flu tend to last for about a week and then starts to fade away. Individuals who have had a flu shot may have symptoms for a maximum of three to four days and are less severe.
For people who have a compromised immune system like the elderly population and small children the symptoms of flu may take about two weeks or more to completely resolve. In such cases the immune system of the body is not competent enough to fight off the infection by itself and so medications need to be provided to treat the flu infection. People who take longer than two weeks to recover from flu are:
- Young infants
- Elderly people above 70 years of age
- People with underlying medical conditions like asthma, diabetes or HIV
- Pregnant females
- Obese individuals
Such people not only have weak immune system but are also predisposed of certain complications of the flu like the pneumonia which may be potentially serious.
How To Prevent Getting Flu?
The best way to prevent yourself from getting flu, especially if you are in the group mentioned above who are predisposed to having the flu is to get a flu shot every year. Other than this, practicing good hygiene, washing hands with soap and water before and after eating food, covering your mouth with a handkerchief can prevent the flu infection from occurring or passing it on to others. Some of the options to prevent contracting the flu are:
Avoid Close Contact: it is essential to avoid close contact with an affected individual as the virus spreads rapidly with droplets of saliva such as a sneeze or cough and even if a drop falls on you, you may get infected.
Stay Home When Sick: In case if you are infected with the flu then it is best to stay at home and not venture outdoors as you may spread the infection to others and taking rest will allow your immune system to work on the infection and get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Cover Mouth and Nose: In you are near an affected individual then it is always advisable to close the mouth and nose with a cloth so as to protect yourself from getting flu
Clean Hands: if you have been near an individual affected with flu you can use a hand sanitizer before and after being in contact with the individuals to protect yourself from getting the flu.
Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose, or Mouth: If you have been in contact with an infected individual then it is recommended not to touch your eyes, mouth, or nose as these are the standard places through which the virus enters the body. It is recommended to wash the hands thoroughly before doing so to prevent from getting the flu.