According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. People who have the flu may experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Influenza virus can be treated with antiviral drugs, which may lessen symptoms and duration of illness by one to two days.
According to the CDC, antiviral drugs can prevent serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia. This is especially important for high risk groups with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or chronic heart disease.
Keep in mind that antiviral drugs are not a substitute for the flu vaccine. Vaccination can help prevent the illness, whereas, antiviral drugs lessen its severity once a person has already been infected.