What is Influenza

Influenza is also called “the flu.” It is an infection in the lungs, nose, and throat (respiratory tract). It is caused by a virus. The flu causes symptoms that are similar to symptoms of a cold. It also causes a high fever and body aches.

The flu spreads easily from person to person (is contagious). Getting a flu shot (influenza vaccination) every year is the best way to prevent the flu.

3 Interesting Facts of Influenza

  1. Very similar presentation to opioid withdrawal but often with history of exposure to someone with influenza and marked fever
  2. In influenza, gastrointestinal symptoms are more rare in adults
  3. Urine drug screen for opioids is typically negative in patients with influenza

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Rest as needed. Get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay home from work or school as told by your doctor.
    • Do not leave home until you do not have a fever for 24 hours without taking medicine.
    • Leave home only to visit your doctor.

Eating and drinking

  • Take an oral rehydration solution (ORS). This is a drink that is sold at pharmacies and stores.
  • Drink clear fluids in small amounts as you are able. Clear fluids include:
    • Water.
    • Ice chips.
    • Fruit juice that has water added (diluted fruit juice).
    • Low-calorie sports drinks.
  • Eat bland, easy-to-digest foods in small amounts as you are able. These foods include:
    • Bananas.
    • Applesauce.
    • Rice.
    • Lean meats.
    • Toast.
    • Crackers.
  • Do not eat or drink:
    • Fluids that have a lot of sugar or caffeine.
    • Alcohol.
    • Spicy or fatty foods.

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • Drink enough fluid to keep your pee (urine) pale yellow.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home. This can make it easier for you to breathe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you cannot use soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

How is this prevented?

  • Get a flu shot every year. You may get the flu shot in late summer, fall, or winter. Ask your doctor when you should get your flu shot.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick during fall and winter (cold and flu season).

Contact a doctor if:

  • You get new symptoms.
  • You have:
    • Chest pain.
    • Watery poop (diarrhea).
    • Fever.
  • Your cough gets worse.
  • You start to have more mucus.
  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous).
  • You throw up (vomit).

Get help right away if you:

  • Have shortness of breath.
  • Have trouble breathing.
  • Have skin or nails that turn a bluish color.
  • Have very bad pain or stiffness in your neck.
  • Get a sudden headache.
  • Get sudden pain in your face or ear.
  • Cannot eat or drink without throwing up.


  • Influenza (“the flu”) is an infection in the lungs, nose, and throat. It is caused by a virus.
  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • Getting a yearly (annual) flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu.

Sign up to receive the trending updates and tons of Health Tips

Join SeekhealthZ and never miss the latest health information