She is approaching the peak of the flu season. That might be entering the week more '' hot ', with thousands of Italians in bed with fever, cough and cold. According to the latest report Influnet, it continues, "the rise of the epidemic curve," fueled primarily by children. In view of the peak, and 'so well known throughout the flu. A hand in this sense by 'the Ministry of Health, which on its website devoted an entire section to the topic, with questions and answers. Here are a few: What is' the flu? The influence and 'a disease caused by viruses (influenza viruses) that infect the airways (nose, throat, lungs). It 'very contagious,' cause is easily transmitted through droplets of mucus and saliva, even just talking close to another person. What are the symptoms? The symptoms are common to many other diseases: fever (usually accompanied by chills), headache, malaise, loss of appetite, muscle aches and musculoskeletal, respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose), conjunctivitis. Especially in children may occur even symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). How is it transmitted the flu? Influenza is transmitted by air through droplets of saliva and respiratory secretions, so: direct (cough, sneeze, talk in very close); indirect (dispersion of droplets and secretions on objects and surfaces). For this reason and 'strongly recommended to follow certain precautions, such as avoiding crowded places and mass demonstrations; and regularly wash your hands frequently with soap and water; avoid wearing unclean hands in contact with eyes, nose and mouth; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze and throw the used tissue in the trash; regularly ventilate the living rooms. Since when and for how long a person with influenza and 'contagious to others? Patients with influenza are already 'infectious during the incubation period before the onset of symptoms. An adult can 'transmit the virus by three aa seven days after onset of illness. While kids are contagious longer 'long. What are the complications of influenza? Complications range from bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, worsening of pre-existing diseases (such as chronic diseases of the cardiovascular or respiratory), sinusitis and otitis (the latter especially in children). How do I prevent the flu? There are some simple actions that help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in general, and those that are transmitted by air as the flu: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (possibly paper) when you cough and sneeze and throw immediately the used tissue in the trash or in the laundry to be washed; Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing, or after attending places and public transport; Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; germs, and not only those of the flu, is spread this way. Again, stay home if sick, avoiding people to travel and go to work or school, in order to limit contacts with possibly infecting other people as well as' reduce the risk of complications and concomitant infection (superinfection) by other bacteria or virus. In addition to these rules of hygiene, and 'you can also prevent the influence by the administration of specific influenza vaccines; are also available antiviral drugs with specific action against influenza viruses; their use for prevention and 'reserved for special situations, or in subjects in which the influence is a high risk, it has not' can use the vaccine because of contraindications. You can 'nurse with the flu? The virusinfluenzale and 'spread throughout the body and therefore also in the milk, where, however, are also present antibodies. The transmission of the infection, however, 'is predominantly by air, then, to avoid infecting the baby and' should breastfeed putting, for example, a mask over his mouth. What is the difference 'between vaccine and antiviral medication? Antivirals are drugs used for the treatment of influenza. If taken promptly within 48 hours of onset of symptoms, can reduce the symptoms, disease duration and complications of influenza. May reduce the ability 'of the virus to replicate (and therefore the duration of the period of contagiousness' of the infected person) but do not stimulate the production of antibodies such as vaccines and therefore do not give immune protection. In children and adolescents, the use of antivirals should be limited to: children who experience flu symptoms and who belong to groups at risk for serious complications; children with no risk factors, but hospitalized for severe symptoms attributable to infection with H1N1 virus; Children at risk for serious complications, unvaccinated who have had close contact with infected people, as chemoprophylaxis. In women pregnant the use of antiviral drugs should be limited to women who present chronic diseases that existed before the pregnancy as well as' to cases of influenza illness with complicated course. In such cases, treatment can 'be made also in the first quarter, in the most' soon as possible the onset of symptoms. The Health Ministry also points out that "every drug, as such, must be strictly prescribed by your referring physician (GP, pediatrician, gynecologist, cardiologist or other specialist) after visit".