Flu is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses. The viruses pass through the air and enter your body through your nose or mouth. Between 5% and 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. The flu can be serious or even deadly for elderly people, newborn babies and people with certain chronic illnesses.
Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and are worse than those of the common cold. They may include
Body or muscle aches
Is it a cold or the flu? Colds rarely cause a fever or headaches. Flu almost never causes an upset stomach. And "stomach flu" isn't really flu at all, but gastroenteritis.
Most people with the flu recover on their own without medical care. People with mild cases of the flu should stay home and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care. If you get the flu, your health care provider may prescribe medicine to help your body fight the infection and lessen symptoms.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Getting the flu vaccine also lessens the chance that you will spread the virus to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.
Take everyday prevention actions to stop the spread of germs:
o Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue after you use it.
o Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
o Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
o Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities if you are sick with flu-like illness.
o Limit your contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them while you're sick.
There is no scientific evidence that any herbal, homeopathic, or other folk remedies have any benefit against influenza. In certain situations, antiviral medications may be used to prevent the flu.
Source: National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases