by Sarah Linter
Do you feel it in the air? The flu is here. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs) and can cause mild to severe illness, and even death.
In the United States, influenza is more prevalent in the winter, but can occur year round. The height of flu season generally ranges from November through March, and even past March or before November in some years. Officials at the University of Florida’s Hospital in Gainesville say 12 people have died of flu there, including five people younger than 40 years old.
People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Not often, but a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it, following them touching their own mouth or nose.
To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people, as well as stay home if they show any signs of sickness. It is also important to wash hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub, such as Germ-X.
Do your best to stay clean this flu season and avoid the dangerous disease!