Influenza (also known as flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

• Fever, or feeling feverish/chills, though it’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever;

• cough;

• sore throat;

• runny or stuffy nose;

• muscle or body aches;

• headaches;

• fatigue;

• Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.


Flu complications

Most people who get flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection alone or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria.


Cold symptoms

Sore throat and runny nose are usually the first signs of a cold, followed by coughing and sneezing. Most people recover in about seven to 10 days. You can help reduce your risk of getting a cold: wash your hands often, avoid close contact with sick people, and don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.

Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Adults have an average of two to three colds per year, and children have even more.

Most people get colds in the winter and spring, but it is possible to get a cold any time of the year. Symptoms usually include:

• sore throat;

• runny nose;

• coughing;

• sneezing;

• headaches;

• body aches.

Most people recover within about 7-10 days.


Reducing your risk

There are ways to reduce your risk of getting sick, to include:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Stay away from people who are sick.


There are also ways to reduce the risk of infecting others, to include:

• Stay at home while you are sick.

• Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.

• Move away from people before coughing or sneezing;

• Cough and sneeze into a tissue then throw it away, or cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose.

• Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.


Weekly activities

Thursday: TOPS, 8:30 a.m.; Art class, 10 a.m.; Bridge, 1 p.m.; Skip-Bo, 1 p.m.; Strength training, 4 p.m.; HOBO Stew supper, 5 p.m.; PIYO, 5:30 p.m.; Yoga, 6 p.m.

Friday: Line Dancing, 8:30 a.m.; a nurse from St. Catherine Hospital is here from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Enhance Fitness, 1 p.m.; Bridge, 1:15 p.m.

Saturday: QOV, 9 a.m.; the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.; Pickers, Fiddlers and Singers, 5 p.m.

Sunday: Duplicate bridge, 2 p.m.

Monday: Double Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.; Enhance Fitness, 1 p.m.; Strength Training, 4 p.m.; Zumba, 6 p.m.; Duplicate Bridge, 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Walking, 9 a.m.; Pitch, 12:30 p.m., Bridge 1:15 p.m., PIYO, 5:30 p.m.; Yoga, 6 p.m.

Oct. 31: Line dancing, 8:30 a.m.; Completely Unraveled, 9:30 a.m.; Halloween Costumes contest party, 12:30 p.m.; Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.; Enhance Fitness, 1 p.m., Bridge, 1:15 p.m.


Lunch Menu

Thursday: Baked ham, candied yams, carrots, Oreo cookie

Friday: Homemade meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, lima beans, fruit

Monday: Truck drivers casserole, sliced carrots, California pasta salad, chocolate ice cream

Tuesday: Crispy baked chicken breast, baked potatoes/sour cream, green beans, fresh grapes

Oct. 31: Bacon cheddar cheeseburger on Bun, potato salad, baked beans, fruit


Patti Thummel is the interim executive director of the Senior Center of Finney County and director of Meals on Wheels.