Flu (Influenza)

older woman receiving a vaccine

Flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe symptoms. Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and those with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious illness. It is especially important to take extra precautions during COVID-19, since the addition of flu illnesses could overwhelm our healthcare system and increase the risk of catching both flu and COVID-19 at the same time. 

What are common symptoms of flu?  

Symptoms include some or all of the following:  

  • Fever and/or chills 
  • Cough  
  • Sore throat 
  • Runny or stuffy nose  
  • Muscle or body aches  
  • Fatigue  
  • Headaches  
  • Vomiting and diarrhea  

How does flu spread?  

The virus mostly spreads through tiny droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking that land in the mouths or noses of nearby people. There is also a chance that a person could get flu by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.    

How can I prevent flu?  

The most important thing to do is get the vaccine. The flu vaccine is given with a needle and every person older than 6 months should get the vaccine each season. See your healthcare provider or click here to find a vaccine near you.  

Other precautions include:  

  • Staying away from people who are sick  
  • Covering coughs and sneezes  
  • Washing hands frequently  

Can flu be treated?  

Antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. These are prescription medications that fight against flu viruses and they are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine. It is best to start treatment within two days of getting sick.  

Need more information?  

Click here to read more about flu on the CDC website.  

Source: CDC 

Last reviewed 5/1/2023

Return to Blog


Healthcare & Mental Health