The number of states reporting widespread flu activity has doubled to eight in the past week, according to this update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza, better known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and even lead to death. (According to the CDC, every year an average of 226,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 to 49,000 flu-related deaths occur.) The flu does differ from your typical cold, and usually presents suddenly.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
Fever, or feeling feverish/chills
Stuffed-up or runny nose
Muscle or body aches
Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
The flu can be treated with antiviral drugs, like Relenza or Tamiflu - but the secret is to seek early treatment! A recent study showed that when treatment was administered within 24 hours of illness onset, the median time to recovery was shortened by 3.5 days. Think you have the flu? Don't wait - Get treated now!
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention