What is the flu?

Influenza viruses are always changing, so an annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age. Even in otherwise healthy people, flu can cause 5-7 days of aches and fever that interfere with work and school. For those at a higher risk of developing complications from getting the flu – young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease or a weakened immune system – getting a flu shot is especially important.

What are symptoms of the flu?

The symptoms of the flu typically include abrupt onset of fever and chills, a nonproductive cough, sore throat, aching muscles, runny nose and a headache.

How is the flu spread?

The influenza virus is spread through the air from the respiratory tract of an infected person. It is also transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets. An infected person is likely to spread the virus one to two days before the onset of their symptoms and up to four or five days after symptoms begin.

How do I prevent getting and spreading the flu?
  • The best way to prevent getting the flu each year is with a flu vaccine. Some additional steps to prevent its spread are:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Discard the tissue after use and wash your hands.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If you do get the flu, stay home and avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever has ended.

If You Have the Flu

Please call the Health Center at 617-521-1020 if you have any questions or would like more information.