What You Can Do to Avoid the Flu
Fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, nausea: If these symptoms hit, you may have been bitten by the flu bug.
People over age 65 are at a greater risk for flu-related illness and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children younger than 5 also are at high risk.
Flu season occurs in the fall and winter, peaking between late November and early March, and it's an epidemic every year. The makeup of flu viruses can change from year to year, making it difficult to predict. Flu spreads through droplets when people sneeze or cough, and on surfaces. People are contagious one day before symptoms appear and up to a week after. When you don't feel well, it's best to take care of yourself and co-workers by staying home. And don't go back to work (or school) for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.
It is difficult to calculate the number of flu deaths annually, according to the CDC. States are not required to report flu deaths, not everyone who dies with flu symptoms is tested for flu, and the virus can cause death when other health conditions are present. About 5% to 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. Flu-related deaths range from about 12,000 to 56,000 a year, depending on the severity of the outbreak.
Keep yourself and others safer by getting a flu shot. Vaccines do not give people the flu.
To see a weekly report on flu activity across the U.S., check out FluView.