Flu Season

About the Flu

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and the lungs. The flu is different from a cold, and usually comes on suddenly. Each year flu viruses cause millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths in the United States.

How does flu spread?

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly by droplets made when someone with flu coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. A person also can get flu by touching something that has flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes, or nose.

Flu symptoms in the time of COVID

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Some similar symptoms between the two may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or aches
  • Headaches

Flu Vaccination

The first and best way to protect against flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine for yourself and your child.

  • Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older every year. Flu shots and nasal spray flu vaccines are both options for vaccination
  • It’s especially important that young children and children with certain long-term health problems get vaccinated
  • Caregivers of children and adults at high risk of flu complications should get a flu vaccine
  • Pregnant women should get a flu vaccine to protect themselves and their baby from flu (research shows that flu vaccination protects the baby from flu for several months after birth)
  • Flu viruses are constantly changing and so flu vaccines are updated often to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates are most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season