What is the Flu?
The Flu (influenza) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by influenza virus. The flu can spread from person to person. Most people with flue are sick for about a week, but then feel better. However, some people (especially young children, pregnant women, older people and people with chronic health problems) can get very sick. Some can die.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
Most people with the flu feel tired and have fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and sore muscles. Some people, especially children may also have stomach problems and diarrhea. Cough can last two or more weeks.
How does the flu spread?
People that have the flu usually cough, sneeze, and have a runny nose. This makes droplets with virus in them. Other people can get the flu by breathing in these droplets or getting them in their nose or mouth.
How long can a sick person spread the flu to others?
Most healthy adults may be able to spread the flu from one day before getting sick through five days after getting sick. This can be longer in children and in people with weakened immune systems who don’t fight the disease as well.
How can I protect my baby from the flu?
A flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all children from the ages of 6 months up to 18 years get a flu vaccine every fall or winter. Children getting a vaccine for the first time need two doses. Contact your child’s Primary Care Provider (PCP) to schedule an appointment for your child to receive their flu vaccine. If they do not have a PCP call Buckeye Community Health Plan (Buckeye) at 1-866-246-4358 (TTY 1-800-750-0750) to choose a PCP.
- Flu shots can be given to children 6 months and older
- For babies younger than 6 months, you can protect your child by getting a flu vaccine for yourself. Also encourage your child’s close contacts to get a flu vaccine. This is very important if your child is younger than 5. It is also important if your child has a chronic health problem like asthma (breathing disease) or diabetes (high blood sugar levels).
- A nasal-spray vaccine can be given to healthy children 2 years and older. Children under 5 years old who have had wheezing in the past year or any child with chronic health problems should get the flu shot.
Is there medicine to treat the flu?
There are antiviral drugs for anyone 1 year and older. These drugs can make you feel better, be less contagious, and get better sooner. But these drugs need to be approved by a doctor and have to be started during the first 2 days of the illness for them to work. Talk to your doctor to see if these drugs are right for you or your family member.
How else can I protect my family against flu?
1. Take time to get a flu vaccine.
For information on how to get a flu shot, call us at 1-866-246-4358 (TTY 1-800-750-0750) or you can call your PCP for this information. If you do not have a PCP, call Buckeye at 1-866-246-4358 (TTY 1-800-750-0750) to choose a PCP. Get everyone in your family over the age of 6 months vaccinated too. Buckeye’s adult members can also visit a local CVS or Walgreens to get a flu shot. Be sure to take your ID card with you.
2. Take everyday steps to prevent the spread of germs. This includes:
- Staying away from people who are sick.Cleaning hands often
- Keeping hands away from face.
- Covering coughs and sneezes to protect others. It’s best to use a tissue. Then , throw it away.
What should I use for hand cleaning?
Washing hands with soap and water will help protect your family from germs. Washing hands for as long as it takes go sing the Happy Birthday song twice is a good rule to follow.
When soap and water are not available, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used for older children and adults. The gels should be rubbed into your hands until they are dry.
What can I do if someone in my family gets sick?
Talk to your doctor or call NurseWise at 1-866-256-4358, option 7. Make sure the family member gets plenty of rest and drinks a lot of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines can be tried but should never be used in children younger than 2 years old. Be careful with these medicines. Follow the instructions on the package. Never give aspirin or medicine that has aspirin in it to children or teenagers who may have the flu.
What if my child seems very sick?
Call or take your child to a doctor right away if your child:
- has a high fever, a fever that lasts along time or any fever in a baby younger than 3 months of age
- has trouble breathing or breathes fast
- has skin that looks blue
- is not drinking enough fluids
- seems confused, will not wake up, does not want to be held or has seizures (uncontrolled shaking)
- gets better then worse again
- has other conditions (like heart or lung disease, diabetes) that get worse.
Remember to follow your doctor’s advice. If you have any questions, call your doctor. You can also call us at 1-866-246-4358 (TTY 1-800-750-0750).