Influenza or "Flu"

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.


  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than in adults


  • Self-care is usually the most effective treatment.
  • Rest and stay warm, increase your hours of sleep
  • Eat a well balanced diet to keep your immune system strong (if you are experiencing vomiting, eat a bland diet)
  • Gargle with warm salt water to ease the discomfort of a sore throat
  • Use cough drops as needed
  • Avoid close contact with others and if possible, curtail normal activities, including physical exercise, until symptoms disappear
  • Avoid smoking when you have the flu; it will cause further irritation to your upper respiratory tract.


  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu
  • See Everyday Preventive Actions  and Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) for more information about actions – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like influenza (flu).


  • If you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, earache, and persistent fever over 101F, or if you develop a deep, mucous-producing cough, you should seek professional medical attention. Additionally, if your illness lasts for more than 4-5 days despite good self-care, obtain medical care.