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Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a viral infection that occurs in the respiratory tract — the nose, throat, and lungs. Cases of the flu can be mild, severe, and even life threatening.
At Dignity Health, our doctors offer complete care to prevent and treat the flu in Arizona, as part of our emergency services. If you or a loved one has symptoms of the flu, Find a Doctor at a Dignity Health location near you.
The symptoms of flu, while similar to a cold, often start very suddenly. These include:
It is common to have all of these symptoms if you have the flu. In some instances, the flu can lead to more serious and life-threatening complications, such as bronchitis, sinus infections, and pneumonia.
The flu can make existing medical conditions worse, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma.
Certain people are at a higher risk for developing the flu:
Flu complications can be fatal. People who are at high risk and who have the flu should get prompt medical treatment.
The flu spreads easily through direct contact. It also spreads indirectly, by touching contaminated surfaces, and then touching your nose or mouth. You are able to spread the flu germs about one day before your flu symptoms appear, making it easy to infect someone else, before you even realize you are sick.
Primary care doctors and emergency room doctors at Dignity Health focus on easing flu symptoms and reducing the spread of the infection to others. Mild flu cases can often be treated with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medicines. If you are in the high-risk group or want to know about your symptoms, meet with a doctor as soon as you can. You may need antiviral medicines for a complete recovery.
The best way to protect yourself against the flu virus is to get the flu vaccine every year. Regular hand washing and avoiding people who are sick are also good strategies.
Dignity Health offers flu vaccinations and comprehensive care to diagnose and treat all strains of influenza in Arizona.