The FLU And You
While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses can be detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, although it can last as late as May.
The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce doctor visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. Flu vaccine changes every year to try to keep up with the evolving virus.
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets of saliva, made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
Fever or feeling feverish/chills-not everyone with flu will have a fever
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.