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FLY 02_04_17

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HOW IS THE FLU TRANSMITTED?

The virus is transmitted by particles of saliva from an infected person, expelled especially by coughing or sneezing but also by way of direct contact, for example, with the hands.(1)

WHAT IS THE CONTAGIOUS PERIOD?

The contagious period starts 1 to 2 days before the onset of symptoms and continues for up to 7 days after; in children the period can be longer.(1)

HOW SERIOUS IS THE FLU?

The flu is normally a short-term disease (up to 3 to 4 days) with light to moderate symptoms, benign evolution and full recovery in 1 or 2 weeks.

 

Elderly people and patients with chronic illnesses may take longer to recover and the risk of complications is always higher, namely, pneumonia and/or decompensation of the basic disease (asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung or renal diseases).(1)

WHO SHOULD BE VACCINATED AGAINST THE FLU?

People who have a higher risk of suffering from complications induced by the flu should be vaccinated:

 

  • People above 65 years old, mainly if they reside in institutions;

  • People over the age of 6 months who suffer from:

           - Chronic lung, heart, kidney or liver diseases;

           - Diabetes under treatment (tablets or insulin);

           - Other diseases that weaken resistance to infections.(1)

 

IF I HAVE THE FLU WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Take care of yourself:

  • Stay at home and rest;

  • Do not wrap yourself up too much;

  • Take your temperature throughout the day;

  • If you have a temperature, you can take paracetamol (even children). Do not give children acetylsalicylic acid;

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take any medicine without talking to your doctor;

  • Use saline solution for a blocked nose;

  • Do not take antibiotics unless recommended by your doctor. They do not act on viral infections, do not improve symptoms nor speed up the cure;

  • Drink a lot of liquids: water and fruit juices;

  • If you live alone, especially if you are elderly, you should ask someone to telephone regularly to know how you are.

 

Prevent the transmission of the flu:

  • Cut down contact with other people as much as possible;

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. If it is not possible, use wipes;

  • Use disposable paper handkerchiefs (dispose of them in the toilets or in the general waste);

  • When sneezing or coughing cover your mouth with a paper handkerchief or with your forearm; do not use your hands.(1)

 

1 - Source: Microsite da gripe. Direção-Geral de Saúde