What is the flu?
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
How is the flu spread?
Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. To avoid catching the flu, people should wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
Who Should Get Vaccinated
Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap & water or an alcohol based hand rub.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- Avoid contact with others
- Get plenty of rest