Influenza (Also known as the Flu)

Flu season is here and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months or over should be vaccinated this season. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to hospitalizations and death. The main way that influenza viruses are thought to spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

The 2010-11 flu vaccine provides protection against the three main viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness this season. The 2010-11 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H3N2) virus, an influenza B virus, and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.

You can protect yourself, your family, and your patients by making sure to:

1. Take the time to get a flu vaccine. Many health departments in your city/town offer the vaccine for free. To find the nearest flu clinic in your area, visit:

2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. Remember to wash your hands often with soap and water and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

Click here to view FAQ about the Flu Did you know? (Some facts about the Flu) Did you know...

  • That each year from November to April, all across the United States, as many as 60 million people come down with the flu. Although kids get the flu most often, people in every age group can catch it.
  • That you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick? Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
  • That there are similarities and differences between the cold and the flu? For example, both a cold and flu are caused by a virus, however, only the flu has a vaccine available that helps prevent the flu. Learn more about similarities and differences between a cold and flu at:
  • That everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated for flu, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The only exceptions are people with a severe allergy to eggs or to something else in the vaccine.
  • That the flu shot CANNOT cause flu illness. The influenza viruses contained in a flu shot are inactivated (killed), which means they cannot cause infection. Flu vaccine manufacturers kill the viruses used in the vaccine during the process of making vaccine, and batches of flu vaccine are tested to make sure they are safe.
  • That the “stomach flu” is NOT the same as the “flu”? Many people use the term "stomach flu" to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or "sick to your stomach" can sometimes be related to the flu - more commonly in children than adults - these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza.
  • That it’s never too early or too late to get the flu shot? Immunity from vaccination will last throughout the year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get a flu vaccine as soon as it’s available in the fall, but if you have not been vaccinated by Thanksgiving, it can still be protective to get vaccinated in December or later. Influenza is unpredictable and seasons can vary. Seasonal influenza disease usually peaks in January or February most years, but disease can occur as late as May.

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Flu Symptoms: Know the FACTS

Think You Have the Flu?
What Are Flu Symptoms?
Know the FACTS.

    Common Flu Systems include:
  • Fever
  • Aches
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Sudden Symptoms
Use the Flu Vaccine Finder on the bottom left to find the closest flu vaccination location near you!