What is Influenza (Flu)?

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine (External Site) each year.

Flu Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

What are the similarities and differences between the Flu and COVID-19?

Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) information: Flu and COVID-19 symptoms (External Site).

How does the flu spread?

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Ways to prevent getting the seasonal flu:

  • Get a flu vaccine
  • Avoid being around people who are sick
  • Cover your cough
  • Wash your hands
  • Wear a face covering
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

You can find a flu vaccine near you by:

Additional Resources: