The Flu: What You Need to Know

Dr. Steve Garner
By Dr. Steven Garner exclusively for FOX Fan Central:


•  The flu comes on overnight without warning. In the case of the common cold there is a general onset of symptoms.

•  The flu doesn’t usually have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  If these predominate then most likely it is gastroenteritis or some other virus.

•  The symptoms of the flu include high fever (>101), muscle aches, weakness, a cough and severe fatigue.

•  If you see a rash, it is advisable to contact a doctor immediately as this may be a serious bacterial infection or another virus.

•  The flu will last about 4-5 days. If your cold persists, then it is likely something else perhaps more serious.

•  The flu can lead to pneumonia, heart attacks or strokes.  It is essential that the elderly and those with risk factors such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or AIDS be on the lookout for any early signs.  A cough that worsens and produces foul smelling or greenish sputum may be a sign of pneumonia. Chest pain or feeling like passing out or dizziness may indicate an impending heart attack or stroke.  Call you doctor or go to the ER immediately.


•  Get a flu shot. It takes about one week to take effect.  While the strain might not be exactly covered, if you get the vaccination you will get a less severe case.

•  Wash hands frequently.  The flu is contracted from touching surfaces where a droplet may have landed.  If you touch a doorknob after someone with the flu has, you may contract it.

•  Avoid close contact with people coughing or who are obviously sick.

•  Drink plenty of fluids and make sure to keep rooms well humidified.

•  Use disinfectant on areas at home if a family member has the flu.

•  If a large number of children at school are affected, it would be wise to keep the kids home a day or two.

•  The cold weather doesn’t cause the flu.  It makes it more likely for you to get it because people are cooped up indoors, have close contact, and can transmit it easily.

•  Stay fit, get plenty of rest, exercise and eat right.  It will enhance your immune system.

•  A person who is sick with the flu can spread viruses to you up to one week after recovery and about one day before they become ill.