What is Flu

What is Flu?
What is Flu

In a closed community like a school or workplace, most individuals typically develop symptoms within 2 or 3 weeks after the flu arrives in that environment. An individual with the flu is contagious, meaning they can spread the infection to others, beginning a day before symptoms appear and continuing for about five or six days afterward.


The flu is caused by infection with one of three types of influenza viruses: type A, B, or C. It spreads through droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Although many people confuse the flu with the common cold, they are distinct illnesses despite sharing similar symptoms. While both are viral infections, the flu is caused by influenza viruses, whereas the common cold can be caused by various viruses, including rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and parainfluenza virus. Flu symptoms tend to be more severe and prolonged, with the virus being more prevalent in winter months. The virus can also spread through direct contact.


Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe and typically appear suddenly, usually within 1 to 7 days after infection. Common symptoms include high-grade fever (usually the initial symptom), body aches, fatigue, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, decreased appetite, and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting (more common in children). Symptoms usually peak after 2 to 3 days and most individuals recover within a week, though fatigue may persist longer.

Risk Factors and Complications:

Certain factors increase the risk of complications from the flu, including age over 65, pregnancy (especially after the first trimester), and underlying chronic conditions such as heart disease, asthma, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, weakened immune system, or residing in long-term care facilities.


Treatment for the flu primarily involves symptomatic relief such as rest, staying hydrated, fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen, and tepid sponging for high fevers. Antiviral drugs are not universally prescribed for flu-like symptoms but may be recommended for individuals with severe infections or those at risk of complications.