Written on December 20, 2022 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, the “Flu (influenza) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs, which are part of the respiratory system. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach ‘flu’ viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting” .
Getting the flu can be miserable, but luckily, you can receive treatment for the flu via telemedicine.
It is believed that flu viruses spread via little droplets (of saliva, for example) that are released into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets infect others by landing in nearby people’s mouths or noses, or they land on surfaces that are touched by others (who then touch their mouths, noses, or eyes) .
Regarding contagiousness, the CDC asserts that “people with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins,” though “otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick” .
You’ve likely heard of “flu season,” which refers to the period of time when there is an increase in flu activity — this is usually during fall and winter: “The exact timing and duration of flu season varies, but flu activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the timing and duration of flu activity has been less predictable” .
Usually, the flu will run its course with no serious complications, but some groups of people/communities are at a higher risk for complications. Some of these groups include :
Complications of the flu can include “pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, … diabetes” and even death .
The CDC states, “children younger than 18 are more than twice as likely to develop a symptomatic flu virus infection than adults 65 and older” .
According to the Mayo Clinic, common flu symptoms include :
Many people who get the flu are able to tough it out, but if you are someone who is at a higher risk of complications or you are experiencing extreme symptoms, “Taking antiviral medication may shorten the length of your illness and help prevent more-serious problems” .
Emergency symptoms include the following :
If you experience any of the above, you should seek emergency care immediately.
If the flu has you holed up on your couch, the last thing you want to do is drag yourself to the doctor’s office — that’s part of the reason why Everlywell’s same-day video appointments with clinicians can provide you with an immediate flu treatment plan.
With telehealth from Everlywell, you are just three simple steps away from talking to a provider about your prescriptions:
Treatments for the flu “consist of antiviral medicines — three commonly prescribed drugs include oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), zanamivir (Relenza®), and peramivir (Rapivab®). These medications, which can help treat Influenza A and B, work by interfering with an enzyme (neuraminidase) on the surface of the virus, which then prevents the release of more virus particles from infected host cells.” Your Everlywell provider can prescribe these antivirals for you if needed.