Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Influenza Overview

What is influenza?
A person with influenza has an infection caused by the influenza virus, which attacks the nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is very contagious. Each year, about 40 million people in the US have influenza. Influenza comes in a variety of strains and since 2009, the H1N1 strain has been one of the most common. Most people recover completely from influenza within 10 days, although some people remain weak and fatigued for weeks.

What are the symptoms of influenza?
Common symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, and headache. Additional symptoms of influenza may include nasal congestion, chills, weakness, muscle aches, joint pains, nausea, and vomiting.

How does the doctor treat influenza?
The treatment for influenza includes rest, oral fluids, and acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever control. In some cases, treatment may include antiviral medications. Additional treatment for influenza may include bronchodilators for wheezing, and nasal decongestants.

Continue to Influenza Incidence

Last Updated: May 27, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Influenza References
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. Ebell MH, White LL, Casault T. A systematic review of the history and physical examination to diagnose influenza. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2004 Jan-Feb;17(1):1-5. [15014046]
  3., HHS Interagency Public Affairs Group on Influenza Preparedness and Response
  4. Jefferson T, Smith S, Demicheli V, Harnden A, Rivetti A, Di Pietrantonj C. Assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in healthy children: systematic review. Lancet. 2005 Feb 26-Mar 4;365(9461):773-80. [15733718]
  5. Montalto NJ. An office-based approach to influenza: clinical diagnosis and laboratory testing. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Jan 1;67(1):111-8. [12537174]
  6. Strategy for Off-Site Rapid Triage(c) (SORT) and Real-time Epidemiological Assessment for Community Health(c) (REACH), Emory University, Principal Investigators: Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH; Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, Collaboration with the Emory at Grady Health Literacy Team (Ruth Parker, MD; Kara Jacobson, MPH, CHES; Lorenzo DiFrancesco, MD)
  7. VHA Office of Public Health Surveillance and Research; Influenza Algorithm Work Group
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