"Flu" is a term given to a health condition called influenza. Influenza is an upper respiratory disorder that is caused by a virus and affects the patient much like a cold. The flu can have more severe and longer-lasting symptoms and, if not closely watched, may turn into something much more serious, like pneumonia or bronchitis. Because the flu is a virus, it will not respond to antibiotics. The doctor will closely monitor the condition and provide medications that will effectively control the symptoms, but in most cases, the flu must be allowed to run its course. In individuals with a depressed immune system, like small children and the elderly, the flu can be extremely dangerous.
Because the flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help to eliminate the sickness. Instead, the doctor will recommend plenty of fluids, ample amount of rest, a multivitamin to help boost the immune system, and over the counter pain medications to relieve the symptoms. When a person has a fever, they are usually contagious. A fever is the body's way of fighting off the infection so the doctor may leave it up to the patient whether or not they choose to take something to bring the fever down. When a person has the flu, the most important thing is to get plenty of rest. Individuals who carry a fever for an extended period of time need to drink as much water as possible to prevent dehydration.
The flu is a serious illness that can be very hard on a person who has a depressed immune system. Flu shots provide added protection against the viruses that can be potentially harmful to the elderly and young children. Doctors recommend their patients get flu shots each year along with their annual physical to keep them protected from new viruses that may cause more harm than the ones from the previous year. Viruses change from year to year and new vaccines are developed to account for the new strains each year. Being protected by the flu shot vaccination adds an extra layer of protection to help patients stay as healthy as possible throughout the year.
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