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8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

Influenza: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

1.5 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe clinical characteristics and treatment options for the influenza virus, including the 2009 H1N1 virus.
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Influenza (commonly called the “flu”) is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects all ages and can cause significant illness and death. Striking hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide every year, this disease can be prevented using a combination of techniques.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the types of influenza and how influenza changes over time.
  • Describe the clinical issues related to H1N1 ("swine flu").
  • Identify the clinical issues related to avian influenza.
  • Explain the methods of transmission and clinical symptoms of the influenza virus.
  • List methods of diagnosis for influenza.
  • Describe methods of prevention and control measures for influenza.
  • Explain the clinical considerations of vaccination for influenza.

Influenza has probably been around as long as human beings have inhabited the earth. Hippocrates first described an outbreak of a flu-like illness in 412 BC (Barry, 2005).

In modern times, the most serious and deadly influenza pandemic occurred in 1918 when nearly 50 million people died worldwide from the “Spanish flu” or “La Grippe.” More deaths occurred during this pandemic than occurred in World War I, or the Great War (in which 20 to 40 million people died).

Many public health officials still consider this pandemic of 1918 to be an ominous warning for today because many questions about the epidemic (such as its origins, unusual epidemiologic features, and its pathogenicity) remain unanswered (Taubenberger & Morens, 2006).

In 1957 the “Asian flu” (H2N2) and in 1968 the “Hong Kong flu” (H3N2) infected and killed even more people. Both strains remain a concern today. Influenza (or the “flu”) is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause significant illness and death in both children and adults. Caused by the influenza virus, it

  • strikes (on average) 5% to 20% of the population in the United States each year.
  • occurs more frequently in late fall and winter months as individuals spend more time with each other in close contact and in enclosed spaces (Dolin, 2017).

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu-related complications and approximately 36,000 people die from flu-related causes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2017b). Worldwide, influenza epidemics cause 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 650,000 deaths (WHO, 2017b). Young children, older adults, and those with certain health risks (such as those who are immunocompromised) are at the highest risk for complications.


According to Michael et al. (2009), influenza viruses continually shift by two basic processes:

1. Antigenic drift—an ongoing process in which mutations occur within the HA or NA genes of the influenza A and B viruses.

  • Based on the extent of the mutation, the resulting viruses may or may not be recognized by previously developed antibodies.
  • If this drift occurs in a given season, the current vaccine may not be able to provide protection against the disease.
  • This is why vaccines have to be updated seasonally.

2. Antigenic shift—a change resulting from the replacement of HA and sometimes the NA with new subtypes that have not been present in humans in a long time.

  • This shift can create significant health risks and occurs exclusively in influenza A viruses.
  • This type of shift is uncommon and unpredictable, often results in the introduction of a new strain of virus, and can cause worldwide outbreaks of severe disease without warning.

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

September 01, 2021

  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.