Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Its symptoms may be similar to those of the common cold, but are usually more severe.
While health experts urge everyone six months and older to get vaccinated every year, they say it’s especially important for pregnant women, children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. To protect yourself against the flu, public health officials advise that you:
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue.
- If you do not have a tissue, cough into your elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Stay home when you are sick, and keep your children home when they are sick.
- Stay home until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.