What is the flu?
Influenza (the Flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza virus. Flu virus is spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with the flu. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
What are the signs and symptoms of the flu?
Typical influenza illness includes fever (usually 100°F to 103°F in adults and often even higher in children) and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, as well as headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue. Although nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can sometimes accompany influenza infection, especially in children, these symptoms are rarely the primary symptoms. The term "stomach flu" is a misnomer that is sometimes used to describe gastrointestinal illnesses caused by organisms other than influenza viruses. Most people who get the flu recover completely in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia.
What sort of flu season is expected this year?
Every flu season is different and unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading and whether they match the viruses in the vaccine. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can occur as late as May.
What should I do to prepare for this flu season?
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone anyone over 6 months of age as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu, including people 65 years and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, and certain other health conditions.
To reduce the spread of influenza and other contagious diseases, practice the 3C's -
- Clean – properly wash your hands frequently
- Cover – cover your cough and sneeze
- Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.
How safe is the flu vaccine?
This year's flu vaccine is made in the same way as past flu vaccines and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An average of 100 million doses of influenza vaccine has been used in the U.S. each year and the vaccine has an excellent safety record. Flu viruses are constantly changing so it's not unusual for new flu virus strains to appear each year. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Getting the flu vaccine soon after it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.
For more information, visit the CDC flu page.
No Excuses Poster Letter size (8.5 x 11) pdf file
Who Needs a Flu Vaccine? Poster Letter size (8.5 x 11) pdf file
3 Cs Flu Prevention Poster Letter size (8.5 x 11) pdf file
MORE Excuses Flyer Letter size (8.5 x 11) pdf file