Influenza 1 : Medical Assistants Class



  • The symptoms of influenza virus typically lasts about:

    7-10 days

    Rationale: A person that is affected by the influenza virus will typically have symptoms for about 1 week. This time frame can vary depending on many factors, such as health status of the person infected and the strain of the virus. The best way to combat the flu is with rest and fluids, which strengthens the immune system, and allows the body to heal. It is common to see patients that feel better after a day or two of illness, and then push their bodies to return to normal activity, only to find themselves feeling worse with flu-like symptoms. It is best to allow the body to fully heal from influenza before returning to normal activities.

  • Diagnosis of influenza can be with a rapid flu test, which is a:

    nasal swab

    Rationale: A rapid flu test can be performed in the doctors office, and gives a positive or negative results in a few minutes. The test is performed on nasal secretions, which are obtained by swabbing deep inside of a patients nose. The test can easily be performed in doctors office, with fairly quick results. If the results are positive for influenza, then the specimen should be sent to the lab for further culture.

  • The number of deaths worldwide from influenza each year is:


    Rationale: Influenza is a serious illness, that can cause hospitalization, and even death in people effected by the virus. 90% of deaths from influenza are in people over the age of 65, as they usually have other health conditions that weaken their ability to fight infections It is important to educate everyone on the risks of influenza, and recommend the vaccine for patients at risk of severe illness.

  • A viral infection characterized by a sudden onset of high fever, body aches, headache, and non-productive cough is:


    Rationale: Influenza is most commonly known as "the flu". It is a viral infection, that generally affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza is a serious illness, that can lead to hospitalization, or even death for some people. Typically, the infection lasts about 1 week and does not have lasting effects on most people.

  • Influenza is spread from one person to another through:

    air droplets

    Rationale: Influenza spreads easily form one person to another through droplets in the air. For example, if a patient that is infected with influenza coughs and spreads their germs in an area, you can potentially become infected with the virus by breathing in their air droplets. Patients that are contagious with the influenza virus should wear a mask while in the office or hospital setting to prevent the spread of infection to other patients.

  • People at the highest risk of severe illness from influenza are:

    under 2 years old, over 65 years old, and with chronic health conditions

    Rationale: Most people that are effected by influenza recover without any major complications. Those that are at the highest risk of severe illness are children under the age of 2, elderly people over the age of 65, as well as people with chronic illnesses. These categories of people generally have a weaker immune system, and are more susceptible to major complications from influenza. It is important to make sure these patients are educated on how to prevent the flu, and what steps should be taken if they start to have flu symptoms.

  • Influenza is treated with:

    rest and fluid

    Rationale: Rest and fluid are the 2 most important methods of fighting the influenza virus. The body needs to stay hydrated, and sleep helps the body boost the immune system. The doctor may prescribe anti-viral medications as well, depending on the severity of symptoms. Since influenza is a virus, antibiotics are not effective, as they are used to treat bacterial infections.

  • 70-90% of influenza cases can be prevented by:

    influenza vaccine

    Rationale: The influenza vaccine is the most effective way of preventing the influenza virus. Most commonly known as "the flu shot", the vaccine is recommended for almost everyone to prevent the spread of influenza in the population, but especially for those people at higher risk of complications from the illness. The immunization can be given as an injection, or as a nasal mist. The nasal mist is a live virus, and is only recommended for people ages 2 -49 years old, and without any chronic health conditions. Your body begins to develop antibodies to influenza about 2 weeks after the vaccine is given, and lasts for about 3 months.

  • The peak season for influenza in the United States is:


    Rationale: The peak flu season in the United States is in the winter. The first cases of influenza usually start in October, peak in December and January, and last through May. This does not mean that it is impossible to get influenza at any other time of the year, it just means that more cases are reported in the winter months.

  • If a patient has a positive flu test, the test should then be:

    sent for a culture

    Rationale: There are several different types of influenza virus. When a rapid flu test is performed, the test is positive or negative for the influenza virus. If a test is positive for influenza, then the specimen should be sent to the lab for further culture to determine what strand of influenza the patient is affected with. This information allows us to know the prevalence of certain strands of influenza in certain areas, and if further treatments are required.


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