How Lou Got the Flu

china-nyc

Hi, I'm Louise. Most people call me Lou and I live in New York. I feel pretty rotten right now. I have a sore throat, a cough, and achy muscles. Doctor Cooper said I caught the flu — that's short for influenza, a type of virus.

My friends Sue, Hugh, and Stu also caught it. I hear it's going around, and not just to people whose names rhyme!

My dad's giving me lots of stuff to drink and making sure I sleep a lot. I asked Doctor Cooper, "Where does the flu come from?" He said, "Scientists think this flu strain comes from ducks in China."

step-0

How can a virus travel around the world?

 
You'll see, my friend, you'll see...
Six months ago on a farm in China, there was a duck that carried a flu virus in its body. The duck was never lonely because over a billion ducks live in China. More than a billion people live there, too.

1

So, how did the virus travel from the duck   me ?

 

a pig

 

a tick

Nope. Try again!
step-1
You got it!

ANSWER: a pig

Oink! Oink! It was a pig.

Min Peng, a farmer in China, raises pigs. When the duck flew over Min Peng's farm and pooped on the ground, a pig sniffed the duck virus into his body.

People can't become infected with bird viruses. But pigs can be infected with both bird and human flu viruses. So if the flu virus spreads to pigs, it can easily mutate into a kind that can be spread to humans.

Question 1 of 6
NEXT QUESTION
2

So, how did the virus travel from the duck   pig   me ?

 

a pig became dinner

 

a pig touched the farmer

Nope. Try again!
step-2
You got it!

ANSWER: a pig touched the farmer

The farmer touched a sick little pig.

The pig spread the virus to many of the other pigs on the farm. One day, the farmer touched one of the sick baby pigs and — you guessed it — Min Peng caught the flu virus

Question 2 of 6
NEXT QUESTION
3

So, how did the virus travel from the duck   pig   farmer   me ?

 

the farmer got bitten by a mosquito

 

the farmer sneezed on money

Nope. Try again!
step-3
You got it!

ANSWER: the farmer sneezed on money

ACHOOO! The farmer sneezed on the money.

Ming Peng was sick for a few days. Later, he went to the market to sell ice cream. Mei-li Yuan bought some red bean ice cream from him. When he was giving her change, the farmer accidentally sneezed on the money.

"I'm so sorry," said Min Peng, "I'm just getting over the flu." "I hope you feel better soon," said Mei-li Yuan, and took a bite of the ice cream.

Question 3 of 6
NEXT QUESTION
4

So, how did the virus travel from the duck   pig   farmer   shopper   me ?

 

the shopper shared a soda with a friend

 

the shopper went out with wet hair

Nope. Try again!
step-4
You got it!

ANSWER: the shopper shared a soda with a friend

The shopper shared a soda with a friend. Slurp!

The next night, Mei-li Yuan was studying for an exam with her friend Maria, who is from the United States. While they were studying, Mei-li Yuan and Maria got thirsty. Since there was only one soda, they shared it. Here's the tricky thing about the flu virus and why it's so contagious — you can pass it to someone even before you have symptoms!

Question 4 of 6
NEXT QUESTION
5

So, how did the virus travel from the duck   pig   farmer   shopper   student  me ?

 

the student hugged my dog

 

the student sneezed near me

Nope. Try again!
step-5
You got it!

ANSWER: the student sneezed near me

ACHOOO! The student sneezed near me.

The next week, Maria flew home to visit her family. Guess what? They live on our street. Maria came over to visit and to show us pictures from China. She still had some sniffles from the flu but was feeling better. My dad made his famous pepper steak, but he used too much pepper and when he served Maria...

ACHOOO! She sneezed right next to me. And that's how I got the flu from a duck in China.

You see, viruses are like microscopic hitchhikers. They can travel great distances, going quickly from person to person and even around the world. And they don't need passports!

Question 5 of 6
NEXT QUESTION
step-6
6

So, what do you think I can do to prevent getting and spreading the flu in the future?

 

wash my hands often with soap

 

get a flu shot every year

 

if I'm sick, sneeze and cough intro a tissue

 

all of the above

Nope. Try again!
You got it!

ANSWER: all of the above

All of these would be helpful!

Get a Flu Shot Every Year, Wash My Hands Often With Soap, and Sneeze and Cough Into a Tissue.

Question 6 of 6
Good job. Well done! You rock! Amazing! You got out of 6 right on the first guess.

3 simple ways to prevent getting and spreading the flu

step-9

Sneeze and Cough Into a Tissue

When you cough, sneeze, or talk, droplets of saliva and mucus can travel from your nose or mouth into the air and then to others. And if you're sick, the flu virus travels with them! Coughing and sneezing into a tissue and then throwing it away will help prevent spreading the flu. And if you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow instead of your hands.

step-8

Wash My Hands Often With Soap

Soap and warm water will get rid of the viruses and germs that stick to the oil on your hands. And if you use plain old soap instead of antibacterial soap or gel, it won't get rid of healthy microbes that live on your skin!

doctor giving a flu shot to a kid

Get a Flu Shot Every Year

Some infectious diseases, like smallpox and polio, can be prevented with a single vaccination. But influenza is trickier to outsmart because this virus can easily mutate. Even if your body has built up antibodies for one kind of flu, it doesn't mean that it has protection against all kinds of flu. The flu virus is like a moving target. So each year scientists try to predict what type of flu viruses will be traveling around the world. Sometimes the scientists create the right vaccine and and many people are protected. Other times they're wrong and the flu wins.