When you have flu you feel poorly for two or three days and should feel better after a week. Often, but not always, you have a high temperature, feel tired, achy and shivery and have a headache. Sometimes you get a sore throat and a blocked or runny nose and you might sneeze and cough a lot. You also might not feel like eating. You can catch the flu at any time of the year, but it is more common in the autumn and winter seasons.
Flu is short for ‘influenza’. It is a virus that can spread very quickly. When a person who has flu coughs or sneezes, they are releasing millions of very tiny droplets in to the air. These fly everywhere and can spread to an area as big as a hula hoop – and we are not talking about the small round snack here!
When you catch flu, your body starts producing antibodies – these are like personal ninjas that attack the virus! When they are working well and defending your body, you start feeling better. The problem is that the viruses that make up flu can change, making it hard for old antibodies to recognise the flu, so you can catch flu again and again and again. Read our page about how we stop flu using vaccinations.
What to do with the flu
There are some things you can do to help feel better:
- Keep hydrated – Drink plenty of water, juice and soups. Avoid fizzy drinks.
- Get lots of rest and sleep.
- Ask your parent or carer for some medicine to help lower your fever and help with the achiness.
Should you go to school?
Flu is very easy to spread. You can stop it spreading by staying away from large crowds. If you have flu, it is best that you stay at home and away from school so that you can rest and so you do not give it to your school friends and teachers.