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Flu (influenza)

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of other illnesses, like the flu, is more important than ever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu shot in September or October. But, getting vaccinated anytime during the flu season can help protect you. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot.



young girl receiving a vaccination


What is the Flu (influenza)?

The flu is an illness caused by a virus (germs) that usually affects the nose, throat, and lungs. It is easily spread from person to person. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a vaccine each year.

Anyone can get the flu, but there are some groups of people who have a higher risk of more severe symptoms and serious complications. Those at higher risk include:

  • Adults 65 years and older
  • young children (less than 5 years old but especially those younger than 2)
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with other serious health conditions including, but not limited to:
    • Asthma
    • Diabetes
    • Heart Disease
    • Weakened immune system (due to diseases like HIV/AIDS or cancer, or some medications)
    • American Indians and Alaska Natives

image of washing handsPrevention

Three simple steps can help protect you and those around you:

  1. Get Vaccinated! The best way to prevent the flu is to get your flu shot every year. Everyone over the age of 6 months should get vaccinated each year. The best time to get your flu shot is in the early fall. But vaccination at any time during flu season is beneficial.

    Find vaccination locations near you.

  2. Practice everyday preventive actions! It is always recommended to avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, stay home except to seek medical attention. Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently. 

  3.  Take antiviral medications as prescribed by your doctor! Antiviral medications can be prescribed by your doctor to help treat your symptoms. They will not cure the flu but can make symptoms milder and shorten the time you are sick. 


The flu can cause mild to severe illness. These are the most common symptoms of the flu. You may experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling of feverish/chills (it is important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Learn more about the difference between cold and flu. 


If you get sick, you should:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take over-the-counter medicines to treat symptoms
  • Contact your doctor if your symptoms are severe or if you are in a high-risk group, especially if you have difficulty breathing
  • Take antiviral medications as directed, if prescribed by your doctor. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick

Media Relations

Ann Cecchine-Williams
Interim Communications Director

Tammy Vigil
Manager of Media Relations


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