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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The flu, or influenza, is a common and often seasonal respiratory infection of the nose, throat, and lungs . The Mayo Clinic clarifies, “Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach ‘flu’ viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting ."
The flu season in the US is usually during the fall and winter — when the weather starts to cool down, there is often an increase of flu infections.
The flu is transmitted in two ways. The first is via tiny droplets that are released into the air when someone with an active infection coughs, sneezes, or talks. When these droplets settle onto surfaces, that is the second way in which the flu can spread — touching these germs and then touching your food, face, eyes, or mouth can introduce the virus into the body .
For most people, the flu is miserable but doesn’t have any major complications.
There are some groups of people who are at higher risk of these complications including :
The CDC explains that flu complications can include “pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, … diabetes” and for some people, can be fatal .
While illnesses like the common cold may gradually develop, the flu tends to hit you like a brick wall — you might suddenly feel ill .
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as common flu symptoms :
If you find yourself sick with the flu and are otherwise healthy, under the age of 65, and not pregnant, you can typically care for yourself at home without seeing a healthcare provider .
The Mayo Clinic suggests the following at-home remedies :
According to an informal poll of pharmacists done by US News, the five OTC products that are best for flu symptoms are Dayquil Cold & Flu, Coricidin HBP Cold & Flu, NyQuil Cold & Flu, Tylenol Cold + Flu Severe, and Theraflu . With any OTC medication, you should check to make sure to read the warnings and dosage as they may not be a fit for the sick person based on their age, symptoms, or their other medications.
If you exhibit any of the following symptoms, you should consider seeking care from a healthcare provider :
Luckily, you don’t technically have to go to the doctor — especially now that Everlywell offers same-day video appointments with clinicians that can provide you with an immediate treatment plan and even prescribe you antivirals so that you can kick the flu to the curb.
With Everlywell's online flu treatment option, a provider can prescribe the following antivirals to treat influenza A and B: