What is Seasonal Flu?

There are 4 types of seasonal influenza (flu) viruses, types A, B, C and D. Flu A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal epidemics of disease.

Seasonal flu is characterised by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks. Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiring medical attention. But flu can cause severe illness or death especially in people at high risk. Flu is a sever infection causes by a virus which infects the lungs and upper airways.

Illnesses range from mild to severe and even death. Hospitalisation and death occur mainly among high risk groups. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000 to 650 000 respiratory deaths.

Flu is unpredictable. If you are young and healthy, you will usually feel unwell for a week and will not need to see your health care provider as most flus can be treated at home. Antibiotics do not work on flu.


The majority of cases are clinically diagnosed. Most people who think they have the flu usually just have a cold.


Flu symptoms:

  • come on suddenly
  • start with a fever, muscle aches, headache, weakness and fatigue
  • feeling very weak and have difficulty in getting out of bed
  • may develop a cough after a number of days.
  • sore throat
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • nausea and vomiting

The symptoms are similar for children. But they can also get pain in their ear and may be less active than usual. link

Cold symptoms:

  • usually come on gradually
  • start with a sore throat and a blocked or a runny nose.


Getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of liquids will make you feel better. link

  • Stay indoors.
  • Rest and sleep.
  • Keep warm.
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Your urine should be light yellow or clear.
  • Don’t smoke

You can start your normal activities again when you feel well enough.


The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to fight the flu virus. If you have been vaccinated and you come into contact with the virus, these antibodies will attack it and stop you from getting sick. The flu vaccine starts to work within two weeks. The vaccine does not provide total protection.