Tag Archives: virus

QUIZ – What’s Your Flu IQ?

How much do you know about the differences between a cold and influenza? Let’s find out. Take a look at the statements below – are they true or false? Try to give the quiz a shot before looking at the answers below. You can write “T or F” for each number on a piece of paper and check your answers at the end. No scrolling down!

  1. The flu shot can actually give you the flu.
  2. Influenza is only a bad cold.
  3. 20-30% of people who are carrying and spreading the flu have no symptoms.
  4. Antibiotics can treat the flu.
  5. You can catch the flu more than once.
  6. You can’t tell where or when the flu will strike.
  7. The flu is spread via contaminated droplets from a sick person to a healthy one.




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  1. FALSE. The flu shot will not give you the flu but getting a flu shot annually will drastically reduce your chances of catching influenza, a serious illness. You may have some side effects such as general malaise, but it is not the same thing as having influenza. It is only your immune system responding to the vaccine.
  2. FALSE. Influenza is much more than just a cold. While both are contagious respiratory illnesses, colds are much more common and less serious, generally affecting the nasal passages, throat and sometimes producing a mild cough or stomach illness. The flu often causes much more intense symptoms and can morph into life-threatening pneumonia. Another difference is that a cold can strike any time of year whereas the flu generally follows a pattern, striking during ‘flu season’.
  3. TRUE. Most people believe the flu can only be transmitted when a person is showing symptoms or actively sick, but that is not true.
  4. FALSE. Antibiotics are powerless against the flu as it is a virus. However, it is important to seek medical attention if you have the flu and your symptoms change or linger. Pneumonia or another serious bacterial infection can develop as a complication of the flu, requiring antibiotics and potentially hospitalization.
  5. TRUE. You can catch the flu several times during your lifetime, however, usually not right away as the antibodies produced while fighting it off will still be present for a period of time which may help you avoid catching it again too soon after.
  6. FALSE. There is predictive technology available to help people keep track of where and when the flu will strike. It is not a 100% sure-thing, but it will certainly help you prepare!
  7. TRUE. A person who has the flu can spread contaminated droplets to a healthy person via human contact, sneezes or coughs, or by cross-contaminating surfaces.

We hope you got 8/8! Check out our quiz on depression next. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you with any medical inquiries.

Fast Facts About Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis is an extremely common viral illness affecting close to 95% of people at some point during their lifetimes. Let’s take a closer look at mono:

  • Mononucleosis (mono) is a prevalent and highly contagious viral illness.
  • Mono generally resolves itself but it may take time, plenty of rest as well as home remedies and OTC medications to ease some of the symptoms.
  • Mono is caused by a common viral strain called Epstein-Barr (EPV) of the herpesvirus family.
  • EPV remains in your system forever, usually dormant but occasionally reactivating which makes it contagious to others again. You will only get mono once.
  • It is very contagious, often spread by saliva, mucus or tears.
  • Because it is most often spread through close contact, it has been dubbed the “kissing disease”.
  • Mono can also be passed by sharing things like cups or personal grooming utensils.
  • Mono is most common among adolescents.
  • Some of the symptoms of mono include: headache, night sweats, high fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, sore throat.
  • Rare but potentially life-threatening complications of mono include swelling of the liver or swelling (or even bursting) of the spleen. If you have mono and feel intense pain in the left part of your stomach, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Some other rare complications of mono include: inflammation around the heart, anemia, meningitis or Gullain-Barre.
  • Vigorous sports activity is not encouraged if you have mono as it could cause internal swelling.
  • To diagnose mono, your doctor may order certain blood work, physically examine you as well as take your symptoms into account.
  • Resting is very important to overcome mono as quickly and easily as possible.
  • Symptoms of mono begin showing between 1-2 months after becoming infected and may last weeks to a month before you feel back to normal.
  • Children sometimes contract mono, however, it is uncommon and usually very mild.
  • Mono can strike nearly anyone but those who are more likely to contract mono include: the immunocompromised, adolescents and people who frequently come in contact with many other people such as students or medical professionals.

Thus concludes our peep at mononucleosis, thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any medical concerns, our board-certified doctors are standing by 24/7/365.

Zika – What You Need to Know

Pixelated Zika

Zika is a virus of the Flaviviridae family that is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. It has been likened to the Dengue and West Nile viruses which are both contracted from the same type of mosquito. 


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the first documented human case of Zika was in Uganda in 1952. There have been various outbreaks since then in over 20 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and other areas of the Pacific. Unlike in some continents, the virus has been well contained in North America. There have only been 31 documented cases of Zika in the United States and none of them were contracted locally, only by those who had recently traveled to highly infectious areas such as Brazil.

Zika Symptoms

Luckily, Zika is not known to be a deadly virus. Only about one fifth of people who contract Zika will exhibit any symptoms at all, and symptoms that are present are generally mild, lasting for about a week. These include low-grade fever, rash, mild joint and muscle pain and headache. There has been a form of temporary paralysis called Guillain-Barré syndrome associated with Zika as well, but it is quite rare.

Pregnant Women – Be Extra Cautious

The worst suspected complication of Zika concerns pregnant women. Though further research is underway, medical scientists have established a connection between Zika and the rise of a previously rare fetal neurodevelopmental disorder called microcephaly. Babies born with microcephaly have a smaller, deformed skull and often have cognitive impairment due to their underdeveloped brains. 

What Are Authorities Doing About the Issue?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), aside from working to develop a Zika vaccine, experts are:

  • Prioritizing Zika research
  • Bettering laboratories across the world to detect and handle the virus
  • Enhancing surveillance of Zika outbreaks and potential complications
  • Working to control Aedes mosquito populations
  • Preparing clinical follow-up care for those infected with the virus.

How to Protect Yourself

As with any mosquito-carried virus the number one preventative measure is avoiding mosquito bites, especially when traveling to highly infectious areas. Use insect repellant, wear clothing that covers your skin, and sleep in tents with screens or mosquito nets when exposed to the elements. The WHO advises to cover or frequently clean containers that hold fluids such as flower pots, as mosquitos can easily breed in those environments. The immunocompromised should be especially cautious, as they may be more vulnerable to contracting any virus. 


There is no vaccine developed yet for Zika, and authorities warn that there may not be one for at least a year or two. Infected people rarely require hospitalization, and can usually overcome the virus with plenty of bedrest, lots of fluids and acetaminophen-based over the counter pain relievers. However, should you become infected with Zika and your symptoms don’t improve within a week, you should consult your doctor (or one of our highly skilled DocChat physicians).