What is the flu?
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death in infants, the elderly and those with other illnesses where the immune system in the body is not strong enough to fight the virus.
The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated every year.
Take everyday preventative actions that are recommended to reduce the spread of the flu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.
Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- 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.