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Flu Prevention, Symptoms and Facts

Updated on November 26, 2015

How to Prevent the Flu, Flu Symptoms, Flu Facts

The Flu outbreak is bringing a bit of a panicky feeling among many people since this year's outbreaks are earlier than normal and more intense than normal and many people are just not quite prepared.

The information on this page covers both the standard flu and the Swine flu (which is still making its way around the globe) and will help keep you in touch with important resources and once you are more knowledgeable and prepared you'll have more of a chance of protecting your family and loved ones.

As with any flu strain you can protect yourself by following the tips listed below and keep updated with your local news and the resources on this page.

Please note that pregnant women, young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to the flu and if you or someone you know is in this category they should take extra precautions & should contact their doctors office for additional advice.

On this page you'll learn about the flu symptoms, the different symptoms between the flu and a cold, how to keep up on the latest news and what precautions to take to help to prevent the flu.

The CDC states that the flu has started early this season and it is hitting hard.

Taking simple precautions like washing your hands often, protecting your hands from shopping cart handles and door knobs and handles can go a long way in helping to prevent a cold or flu

Actually the #1 way to prevent catching the flu is to wash your hands correctly and washing them often!

Looks like this will be a long flu season

Be prepared

Flu Symptoms, Facts and Prevention

Flu Symptoms & Facts

* The flu is a respiratory illness & children are more likely to suffer nausea & diarrhea than adults.

* The flu is highly contagious

* The flu is a virus - don't ask your doctor for antibiotics - there are specific medications like Tamiflu which may help to alleviate the symptoms and severity.

* The Swine Flu is a type A influenza ( H3N2 or H3N2v)

* Symptoms of the flu are include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Also sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

* The duration of the flu is about 7 days

* Coughing & sneezing on someone is usually the fastest way the flu can be spread.

* The flu germs can also be picked up on places where someone had sneezed such as a keyboard, telephone, doorknob - clean surfaces with alcohol or antibacterial wipes whenever possible

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have contracted the flu contact your doctor. There are medications that can help ease the symptoms of the virus.

Flu Prevention

* The best way to avoid the flu is to wash your hand thoroughly and often

* Avoid being in contact with someone who may have the flu or been exposed to the flu

* Avoid large crowds if there is a flu breakout in your city

* Shop on days and times when there will be less people there (Sundays & Tuesdays)

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth

* Get plenty of rest

* If possible try to avoid stress which can lower your immune system

* Eat as healthy as possible - fresh fruits & veggies

* Drink plenty of fresh water

* Take immune boosting supplements & vitamins

* Before traveling check the Healthmap (shown below) to see if there is a current outbreak so you can take precautions

* Listen to the news, CDC, WHO and other resources listed on this page

Basically take the same precautions that you would take during the normal cold & flu season.

You won't be any good to another family member if they get sick and you are too sick to take care of them.

The Flu is spreading... Are you ready for it?

Is It a Cold Or Do You Have The Flu?

The different symptoms between a cold and the flu as listed above are just standard guidelines and your symptoms may be a bit different.

Many people are stating that they are also having a sore throat with the swine flu, although the chart above does not list it as a common symptom.

Remember that your symptoms may be different than those shown above - I can't stress this enough --the chart above is just a generalization.

Always seek a heath care professional for yourself or your loved ones if your symptoms are severe, if the skin feels dehydrated, if your symptoms last longer than usual or if common sense just tells you to seek medical attention.

Flu Prevention Tip

The handle of a shopping cart is the perfect place to pick up germs.

With dozens of people a day using the same cart and children often sucking on the handle, be sure to clean off the handle before using with disposable wipes (most grocery stores have a container of these by their shopping carts - check yours).

Keep a small supply of antibacterial wipes with you just in case.

If you have small children take extra attention on cleaning off the handle and around the area where they may sit.

What many people don't realize is that the handles of the doors in the frozen food aisle and the self checkout register harbor both flu germs and e-coli so be sure to use antibacterial wipes after touching.

If you don't want to carry your own wipes grab a few as you are entering your store and use often while inside the store.
You don't want to bring germs home with you.

The Anti-Flu Diet

Research has shown that people who consume high quantities of quercetin are less likely to come down with the flu or catch a cold. Also if you catch the flu or a cold it will usually be much less severe.

Ok, so where can you find quercetin?

In the fruit & veggie section of your favorite grocery store.

Foods high in quercetin are:

Red onions - cooked or raw - red onion is the food with the highest quercetin concentration






How to Prepare Now

Emergency Preparedness

If a pandemic does break out you may need to stay home for an extended amount of time. You will want to keep on hand necessities for your family that will last approximately 2-3 weeks.

Even if a pandemic never happens, you will still want to keep certain items in your home just in case. You could possibly get snowed in, a bad storm may hit your area and you can't get out, your car could break down and there isn't mass transit in your town or even if someone in your family gets the regular flu or a really bad cold.

As my Mom use to say "It's always best to be prepared for the worst then be thankful when it doesn't happen."

Remember too, that if the caregiver in the family gets the flu they will not be able to shop so start stocking up on the items that your family uses on a daily basis so that you do not run out. If you purchase them slowly it will be more affordable.

These will be foods that you can store and not food that needs refrigeration.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started - then think about what your family likes and uses:

Baby food


Pet food

Prescribed medicines

Feminine hygiene products

Peanut butter/ crackers/ chips - snack foods

2 week supply of food for each person

Canned foods - meats/ fish /veggies/ fruit

Toilet paper

Soap - shampoo - laundry detergent

Over the counter medications such as pain relievers and fever reducers

Water for at least 3 days - this is always nice to have on hand for cases of emergency

Batteries - several sizes.

A few solar lights


You also have to think about your personal lifestyle and what you would not want to live without for a few days.

If you smoke, what would going without cigarettes for a few days do to you? While you probably aren't going to want a smoke if you are sick, if you are the caregiver or you are creating an emergency storage supply for what ever emergency arises you may want to think about adding them to your emergency supply.

It's a good idea to keep a box of disposable gloves in your home that the caregiver can use when taking care of a family member with the flu

World Health Organization (WHO) Disease Outbreak News

The World Health Organization is the top authority for health news and information on global health matters.

Also known as WHO, the World Health Organization follows health trends and the disease outbreak news page has the latest information about any major outbreaks of diseases.

Important WHO Resources:

Disease Outbreak News

WHO Home Page

You may also subscribe to their Disease News RSS Feed at WHO Disease News RSS Feed plus for your convenience the WHO Disease News RSS feed can also be found further down on this page or you may click here

Do Face Masks Prevent The Spread Of the Flu?

This all depends on the type of mask you use and if you remember to change masks often.

Health experts are saying that those who come in close contact with known flu patients should wear high filtration masks like those used by health professionals.

Be sure that the mask fits snugly (and no gaps around the nose or mouth)

The CDC recommends N95 masks

Remember that even if you wear a mask you should avoid long contact with a person who may have the flu. After each visit you should dispose of the mask by sealing it up in a plastic bag and then wash your hands thoroughly.

If you do purchase a face mask purchase one that is of a heavier gauge material (these will often cost $3-5 ) and look for one that holds it shape when placed on a table.

Also if possible use a face mask that has a metal piece around the nose so that you can fit it snugly around your nose keeping the virus out.

A quality face mask is not cheap. Expect to pay around $3-5 for one and a multi pack will have the cost coming in around $1.25 each.

Look for a mask that states "medical grade", "flu protection", "medical mask", "N95" or "N95 Respirator/Flu Mask", then see if it is shown on the product box to have a 3D shape (to fit snugly against your face).

So if plain flimsy face masks do not work that well why do they give them out at doctor's offices during cold & flu season?

These masks are just worn for just a short time (usually 30 minutes or less) & they do not have time to stretch & gap. For a very short time period these will give you more protection than no mask at all.

Swine Flu Poll

How Concerned Are You About The Swine Flu?

See results

Flu Prevention Tip

When you cough be sure to cover your mouth with a tissue or cough into the crook of your elbow - not on to your hands.

If you were to cough in to your hand then touch a handle, keyboard, cell phone etc. the next person who touches the same area will pick up your germs. You may not show signs of the flu but you still may be carrying the flu virus.

Taking Action To Avoid the Flu?

Are you taking steps to avoid the flu?

See results

Common Flu Symptoms





Sore Throat

Body Aches


Also sometimes Diarrhea and Vomiting

You may have just 1 or more symptoms

The Average Duration Of The Flu is 7 Days

We would like to know what precautions, if any, you are planning to take to avoid the flu

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My 10-yr old son was just diagnosed with Swine Flu - Buffalo NY area - he's on his 3rd day & is feeling worse than the last two days. Started Tamiflu yesterday.. so did my husband & I because the Dr. said we would most likely get it too.

    • takkhisa profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great informative lens.

    • Digory LM profile image

      Digory LM 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for this lens on swine flu. I think living smart and healthy is the best defense.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very important lens. I am an infection control nurse so I deal with this on a daily basis.

    • CornellMarCom LM profile image

      CornellMarCom LM 

      7 years ago

      Good info. Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      There is a wealth of good information Here. Thanks for sharing.

    • peninsula profile image


      7 years ago

      Flu shot always helps, even if you get it, it'll be a lot milder

    • lewisgirl profile image


      7 years ago

      This is really good info!

    • CampingmanNW profile image


      7 years ago

      Flu shot, vitamins, healthy diet and exercise

    • LisaNowatzki profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative and helpful lens. I don't think you can prepareunless youlive in a sterile environment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      very useful information, thanks

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a great lens, I love the wealth of the information collected here. Great job!

    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image


      7 years ago

      We're all about hygiene and infection control so your lens really resonates with us!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love your post, and I have a similar len in my squidoo also.

    • nebby profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from USA

      @BrianRS: I'm glad that you are finally feeling better. The body is such a complicated system and it is good that you had pointed out about the flu affecting underlying conditions.

      I think that most people don't ever think about how one bout with the flu, cold or even a few days of stress can affect what has been going on inside of your body already.

      Although most people just think of the flu as annoying to others it is much more and I wish that the news. whether it be on tv, onliine, in magazines or the radio would not just say the flu numbers or breeze by it, but do more in-depth information about complications and side effects. Not "to scare or shock you" type of journalism, but in a straight forward way.

      Thank you for sharing with us.

      Please take care.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      9 years ago from France

      I have just spent 2 weeks in hospital after catching flu but because the flu triggered other problems related to conditions I have. Not everyone is aware that if you have pre-existing medical conditions that catching the flu can set those problems off as well, particularly immune system problems and old injuries. Very comprehensive lens, well done.

    • jackieb99 profile image


      9 years ago

      Some very good information, thank you!

    • writernewbie profile image


      9 years ago

      What an amazingly written and constructed lens! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You give so many resources to the reader, and I appreciate the time that must have went into putting this together. Great job, and 5*s from me! I'm lensrolling this to: H1N1 Vaccine Recall

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      It's been about a week since I caught a mild case of the swine flu. The part about the comparison between a cold and the swine flu is right on. I've had EVERY ONE of the swine flu symptoms. It surprised me when I read the part about how you don't get a sore throat with the swine flu. I didn't get a sore throat with this virus which surprised me because every time I've gotten sick in the past, I have gotten a sore throat. I knew what I caught was a different illness just based off of that symptom not being present.

      It takes about 7-10 days for this virus to show any relief. It's a real nasty thing to get. Fever comes, goes for a few days, comes back for a day, goes away. That's what's been the worst symptom for me because it comes with the chills.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Do you think some of this is media hype? I mean...some of it sounds blown way out of proportion, for example "Health officials state 50% of Americans could get swine flu this year (fall of 2009) and probably 90,000 Americans will die from it." ??? Who ARE these 'health officials' I wonder?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      After plague i saw H1N1 is increasing his area. Even in India Number of h1n1 positives increasing around thousands daily. Hope we get rid from this soon. Between you lens is informative. Like the protections listed. Thanks

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      10 years ago

      H1N1 is a condition that anybody can acquire. But with precautionary measures, any Jack or Jane can easily avoid the illness.

      Keep your body and immune system healthy. Eat on time. Drink plenty of water. Get enough sleep and rest. Exercise regularly. And avoid physical contact with people who are sick. Hope this helps.

      Hope you could visit my lenses as well. Thanks

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I am now battling the swine flu bug and have been for the last five days. Can anyone tell me if I am building immunity against any further infection from this bug? Can a person become immune in this way? Thank you.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      H1N1 is scary! 2009! :p

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Swine Flu and Mercury - Doctors speaking out on Immunize Your Child Or Not?

      As the health departments in North America begin ramping up production of swine flu

      immunization, the pressure will mount for people to be immunized. While I am not

      advocating one way or the other and believe it is a personal decision each family must

      make, I am amazed at the controversy that is being stirred by certain companies and

      schools who are requiring the swine flu immunization.

      See the rest of the article and videos at the Docket.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      My company has developed breakthrough technology in h1n1 prevention. Please go to for details. Thanks/Rick

    • nebby profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      [in reply to LuckyGirl7]

      Thanks for bringing up the infection issue. I heard about a few days ago and it wasn't until last night did I hear about how common it is and how hard it is to get rid of.

      That is definitely something that we all should learn more about.

      Thanks - again!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have a friend whos elementary school age child has the swine flu in Northern CA. Her daughter is doing fine after being home for 2 weeks but one of the things she warned me about it to watch for a fever that goes away and later (days) returns which may indicate an infection. Something you want to address right away with a doctor.

    • nebby profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      [in reply to EmmyJonesy]

      The main difference between a cold and the swine flu is that a fever is more common in the flu and that a stuffy nose and sore throat is not common in the swine flu. I have not seen any information to the contrary including on the CDC site.

      The chart above is based on a government agency's site and are based on commonalities. Therefore it would not fit every case but the majority of cases would fall into this information.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Speaking from someone who's in the middle of swine flu... the chart at the top of the page of symptoms comparing to cold symptoms is, I believe, skewed!

      Please understand that most of those symptoms (if you listen to anyone who's had it or any other educated website) *are* present in swine flu!!!!

      I don't believe the information here was very accurate at all.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm in very good health and in my late thirties, so I'm not optimistic about getting the H1N1 flu shot before high risk groups get theirs.

      In the meantime, this is what I'm personally doing (which means it won't be appropriate for you unless directed by your physician):

      1 x multivitamin (Twinlab Daily One Caps with 56% RDA of Carbonyl Iron)

      1 x vitamin D3 softgel 5,000 IU for 3 months, then lower dosage depending on blood test

      1 x magnesium/calcium/zinc (with L-Optizinc so it doesn't interfere with copper)

      1-2 x omega-3 fish oil softgels depending on how much other omega-3 sources I eat

      4 oz orange juice with breakfast and dinner

      8 hours of sleep each night

      30 minutes light exercise daily on recumbent bike while reading the morning news

      15 minutes of weights several times per week

      Virology Journal: On the epidemiology of influenza [Vitamin D's impact on flu]

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      It's amazing what sort of ideas one can come up with when on holiday, that can make

      you a very rich person :)

      How Long Does the Flu Last? need information click here

    • JuneMary LM profile image

      JuneMary LM 

      10 years ago

      To avoid the flu, I shall continue, as normal, to take my supplements, drink 2 litres of clean water each day, get plenty of sleep, get as much sunlight as possible to enable my body to make vitaminD and stay away from pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.

      For research-based information, why not read my lens on then you can make up your own mind.

      If you have any questions, leave me a message.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Is the craziest story ever told? Or it is true?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very informative lense.Thank you.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice can look my own ALL ABOUT SWINE FLU

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I recommend anyone, not just now with the swine flu starting to spread around the world, to strengthen the immune system by taking regular weekly sauna bathes Finnish or Russian style. It reduces stress, helps to achieve deeper and longer sleep patterns, detoxifies the whole body, increases the blood flow through the skin reducing the risk of common colds and prevents periods of winter depression. More info on my web site or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

      Meinrad Signer

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      It's worth considering naturopathic prevention for swine flu - a strong immune system puts you at less risk. My doctor of naturopathy recommends Vitamin D, an immune complex, and probiotics. Check out her full advice here:

      and her prevention kit here:

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Why don't you take PROBIOTIC supplement like LACTOPAFI?. It has beneficial living microorganisms that helps your body fight against viruses and bad bacteria.

      Read more about lactopafi probiotics. logon to or

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent Lens. 5*

      If you get a chance check out my Instant Stress Management lens.

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image


      10 years ago

      This is great - this has hot way to close to home for me - my daughters school was closed and we have a HUGE number of cases in my county in PA. I just hope people stay aware of this because I think it will only get worse and being they have taken a lot of it out of the news people think it is going away.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      10 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Our family will take normal health precautions, washing our hands well, avoiding contact among sick people, and staying well hydrated. Thanks for the info. People really want to know the facts!

    • nebby profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      [in reply to KimGiancaterino]

      Thank you for the angel sprinkling - it's very much appreciated!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      10 years ago

      You've been blessed by another Squid Angel.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I take Silver Solution from every day. The only patented silver product, it has been shown to kill viruses, bacteria & fungus without harming the good bacteria in the body. They have both a liquid for internal use and a gel for external use.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      10 years ago from USA

      Thanks for excellent information!

    • nebby profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from USA

      [in reply to kiwisoutback]

      Thanks for the blessing! I decided to do this lens because I was seeing so many people get really stressed when it's not necessary. I think if this flu was just called "the flu" there wouldn't be this problem but when they hear "the swine flu" it kind of freaks them out.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for this informative lens, the public definitely needs to hear it. There's a lot of misinformation about this. Squid Angel blessed.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Working in a pharmacy as a technician, I'm definitely concerned about what it will be like in that sort of environment if it spreads towards our town. We have limited supplies of influenza treatments as it is, and mass hysteria can take hold pretty quickly when it comes to your or a family member's health.


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