Team coverage 6pm: what do people need to look for?

By Jeanie Powell - bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - There are many questions concerning the flu, especially what exactly do people need to look for?

It's the unknown and differentiating between seasonal flu and swine flu.

Medical experts say any flu is much worse than your common cold and the telltale sign you have it, is fever.

We took your question to infectious disease physician Richard Spera.

He says influenza B is less severe than A.

Seasonal flu and swine flu, also referred to as H-1-N-1, are strains of influenza A.  Spera says symptoms are the same.

Fever, Fatigue, severe body aches, headaches, coughing and nausea.

"The difference between seasonal flu and this is that nobody's going to have immunity to it," says Dr. Spera.

Madison family practice doctor Judy Rawls weighs in, "the swine flu is different because it is a new strain of flu and it wasn't in the shots."

Treatment also differs, but is available for each virus.

Spera says it's uncommon to catch seasonal flu this time of year, but the virus has lingered more this year and it's possible someone can test positive for influenza a but not have the swine flu.

Spera says any flu is contagious.  A person can transmit the disease a day before the onset of symptoms through 7 to 10 days after.

It typically take 2 days for symptoms to appear after exposure.

Bottom line...take both viruses, very seriously.

"36-thousand in the U.S. die from seasonal influenza every year," says Dr. Spera.

Dr. Spera says it's too early to tell if swine flu is more or less a threat.

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