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. Flu season in the U.S. occurs in the fall and winter. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get their yearly flu vaccine as soon as they become available.
We strongly encourage everyone at risk of serious illness to get vaccinated as soon and as conveniently as possible, ideally before October 15.
What are some Flu symptoms?
Flu symptoms include:
- five to seven days of fever
- significant body aches
- sore throat
- nasal and chest congestion
- cough and fatigue.
If you have a fever over 100 degrees, stay home and avoid contact with other people until the fever is gone. If you have a fever over 101 that lasts for more than 12-24 hours, a cough for more than ten days, or an extremely sore (bright red or spotty) sore throat, you should see your primary care doctor. If other symptoms cause you concern, call your doctor for advice.
If you have mild flu or other non-urgent, non-emergency symptoms, we recommend avoiding emergency rooms or urgent care centers for health care advice. You can’t “cure” a cold or flu with medication but there are many ways to help you feel better. Colds and flu primarily affect your ears, nose, throat and eyes, and several over-the-counter medications may relieve some of your symptoms in a few days.
Cold and Flu Prevention
What can you do to minimize your risk of catching the flu or a cold virus? Be smart. Get ready for the cold and flu season. Take action to minimize your chances of getting sick.
- Wash your hands.
- Use disposable tissues.
- Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, including kitchen and bathroom counters, doorknobs, desks, phones and computer keyboards.
Best Ways To Fight The Flu
- Get some rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®), Ibuprofen (such as Advil®) or buffered aspirin for headaches, body aches or fever.
- Don’t suppress productive coughs; they can help clear the respiratory system. Suck on hard candies to soothe dry coughs. Over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan can be effective against both kinds of coughs.
- Be considerate. Avoid other people for the first few days when your illness is in its most contagious stage.
Still need more information?
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/flu for up-to-date information on the current flu season, including detailed information on flu activity.