Seasonal Flu Facts

What is the flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory virus.

How do you get the flu?

  • By touching someone who has it
  • By kissing or sharing a drinking glass with someone who has it
  • By breathing in droplets of air that contain virus particles
  • By touching something that was touched by someone who has it and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth

How do you reduce your risk of getting the flu?

  • By getting a flu vaccine
  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water
  • Staying away from others who are sick
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze

Does the flu vaccine always prevent the flu?

No, the flu vaccine doesn’t treat all types of the flu, only some of them.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

In adults:

  • Fever, often around 102° Fahrenheit, but not everyone has a fever with the flu
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches

In children:

  • All of the above as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

How long does the flu last?

7 days

When is a patient contagious?

From one day before he or she gets sick until one day after symptoms end

When can a patient who had the flu return to work/school?

24 hours after the fever disappears

How is one treated for the flu?

With rest, drinking plenty of liquids and taking over the counter medications that do not contain aspirin to relieve symptoms.

Can the flu be serious?

Yes, the flu can be fatal in rare cases. It is especially dangerous for young children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or a heart condition, which make them more vulnerable to disease.


Listen to the podcast “The Flu: Treatment and Prevention”. Family Nurse Practitioner Mandy Price discusses normal flu symptoms as well as complications that can arise from the flu. She explains what populations are most vulnerable to the flu and how vaccinations can help protect them.