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Influenza (Flu)

 

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. The Flu Vaccine Finder locates flu vaccine clinics near you. Simply enter your zip code or city and state to find mapped locations of flu vaccine clinics.

Flu Basics

Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It spreads between people and can cause mild to severe illness. In some cases, the flu can lead to death. In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May. 

Who's at Risk

Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu shot. Approximately 5-20% of U.S. residents get the flu each year, but there are some groups that are more at risk to experience serious complications from the flu. These groups include:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Anyone with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease

Because healthcare personnel (HCP) provide care to patients at high risk for complications of influenza, HCP should be considered a high-priority group for receiving vaccination. Achieving high rates of vaccination among HCP will protect staff and their patients, and reduce disease burden and healthcare costs.

Prevention

Good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. Follow the tips below to achieve a flu free season.

1. Avoid close contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick: If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3. Cover your mouth and nose: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Wash your hands: Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth: Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

7. Know the signs and symptoms of the flu: Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired. For medical questions or concerns, contact your physician.

8. Get vaccinated against the flu!

Misconceptions about the flu and flu vaccine

Follow the links below to learn more about the flu and flu vaccine.

Test Your Flu I.Q.

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