What is the flu?

The flu is an illness caused by a virus. Many people think they have the flu when they experience symptoms like coughing, a stuffy nose, and a cold. This usually only lasts for a few days and is often not the flu but a common cold. The flu can last 1 to 2 weeks and has more severe symptoms, including high fever, severe muscle pain, and fatigue. The flu is also not the same as COVID-19. COVID-19 is caused by a different virus.

How do I get the flu?

The flu virus is transmitted through the exhaled air from person to person. The virus spreads in the air when a person coughs or sneezes and infects another person when they inhale the virus. It can take a few days to get sick from the virus. The flu is an illness that can occur anywhere, not just in cold countries, so it can also occur in Bonaire.

How do I recognize the flu?

Anyone can get the flu. The symptoms are:

• Fever
• Headache
• Cough
• Sore throat
• Muscle pain
• Reduced appetite
• Stuffy nose

Who is at higher risk?

There are certain risk groups that may experience severe consequences (such as pneumonia or heart problems) if they contract the flu.

• People with heart conditions
• People with lung problems such as asthma, bronchitis, etc.
• People with diabetes
• People with kidney problems
• People with weakened immune systems
• People over the age of 60

If you believe you belong to one of the mentioned risk groups, it is advisable to contact your family doctor.

How can I prevent the flu?

The flu virus is in the throat of an infected person. Coughing and sneezing cause small droplets containing the virus to become airborne. People can inhale these droplets and become infected. Therefore, it's important to cough and sneeze into your elbow or a disposable tissue. Additionally, people can also contract the virus through their hands and objects. Thus, it's essential to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. The flu is contagious from 1 day before the onset of symptoms to 5-7 days after the onset of symptoms.