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The flu can be debilitating. It can take you out of commission for days at a time. Lethargy takes over. You may not even be able to get out of bed. This contagious respiratory illness, caused by the influenza virus, afflicts between five and 20 percent of the U.S. population each year.
Flu symptoms can include:
It is important to try and prevent the flu during its early signs. The effects of the flu are swift and fast and its complications can lead to conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and sinus infections. It can make other health conditions worse especially for those with asthma, diabetes or chronic congestive heart failure. The best way to prevent influenza is avoiding contact with people who are sick, washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your nose, ears, mouth, and eyes, and getting the flu vaccine each year.
The best thing to do if you experience flu symptoms is to get to your primary care doctor or urgent care center quickly. Your doctor will usually prescribe antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs are more effective if they are begun within two days of getting flu symptoms. However, the drugs can still be helpful if started later. These drugs can alleviate symptoms and lessen the time of sickness by one or two days. Antiviral drugs are safe for children and pregnant women.