Flu Season

Influenza (flu) is a serious disease. More serious infection can lead to hospitalization or death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses, like flu.

The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu shot each year. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses. For the 2018-2019 season, the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or “LAIV”) is again a recommended option for influenza vaccination of persons for whom it is otherwise appropriate. The nasal spray is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age.

Signs and Symptoms of Flu

People who have the flu often have some or all of these signs and symptoms:
  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications

  • Children younger than five, but especially children younger than two years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who have pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes

Resources

  • Get a flu vaccine
  • Wash your hands often
  • Go to your doctor, get rest and stay home from work/school if you feel sick
Resources
Wash Your Hands
CDC: Flu & You
The Flu: A Guide for Parents
How do you know if you have a cold or the flu?