The flu

What is the flu?

The flu (influenza) is caused by a virus. Every year, new strains of flu are emerging. Common ‘flu symptoms include: high fever, aching muscles and headaches. Sometimes people with the ‘flu can also have a dry cough or a sore throat.

How do people get the flu?

The flu virus is spread through the air. Somebody who becomes ill may have infected others during the period preceding the emergence of symptoms without the person knowing anything about it. Not everybody who is infected gets sick.

What happens when somebody has the flu?

About 1 out of every 20 people in Europe catch the flu each winter. Most people recover on their own within a week. All they need is rest. Medication can relieve some symptoms. The flu can be very serious among people in poor health, such as those with chronic illnesses or the elderly.

Avoiding infection

Becoming infected with the flu virus is hard to prevent, daily contact included. You can, however, help avoid passing on the flu virus. If you put your hand in front of your mouth and turn away from others when coughing or sneezing, you can avoid spreading the virus unnecessarily. Using disposable tissues when suffering from colds or flu is also a good idea. People with poor health can also have themselves vaccinated against the flu for the winter. Doing so will protect them from the types of the flu going around that year.