The Flu: Protect Your Family with the Facts

woman blowing her nose

With the flu season officially on our doorstep, it’s important to know exactly what the flu is and how you can catch it to protect yourself and your family. But more importantly, you should know the best ways to prevent it because the flu can strike anyone, no matter how healthy they are.

Let’s look at some flu facts.

What is the flu?

Not to be confused with the stomach flu, the flu is seasonal influenza, a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. The flu attacks the body infecting your nose, throat, and lungs. Anyone can catch the flu, but infection rates are generally highest among children.

How do you catch the flu?

The flu is spread from one person to another. When an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even talks, germs in tiny drops of fluid can travel up to six feet away, infecting those in their path. Besides spreading from person to person, the flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. It is possible to catch the virus after contacting surface germs.

When is Flu Season?

While you can catch the flu at any point in the year, flu season occurs in the fall and winter months. It often begins in October before peaking between December and February and, at times lasting until May.

Flu Symptoms  

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose

How to Prevent the Flu

  • Get the flu shot annually
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with flu germs

Thousands of people catch the flu yearly, but you can help protect your family by being prepared. The best way to prevent the flu is with a flu shot.

For more information about the flu vaccine and prevention, visit the Indiana Immunization Coalition’s flu resource page.

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