Influenza

  • Influenza is a respiratory illness, not a stomach flu
  • It is spread by tiny droplets when people infected by influenza talk, sneeze or cough
    • These droplets can spread 6 feet from the individual
  • Symptoms start suddenly, 1-4 days after exposure
    • Immunity from the vaccine takes 2 weeks to develop. It is possible to become infected during the time in between.
  • You are contagious 1 day before you have symptoms through 7 days after symptoms started
    • You are most contagious 3-4 days after the illness begins
  • Some with weakened immune systems can infect others with influenza virus for an even longer time
  • If you get influenza, you could be off work for 5-7 days (or more)
  • The virus in the shot is inactivated; it cannot give you influenza
  • The vaccine has been well-tested and has an excellent safety record
  • Anyone can get influenza and  pass it on to vulnerable people without showing symptoms themselves
  • The vaccine is the best way to fight influenza
  • Vaccinate for influenza each year
    • It takes 2 weeks to develop immunity after receiving the vaccine
  • Cover your cough
  • Hand hygiene (wash your hands and/or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer)
  • Stop touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth)
  • Stay away from people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Fever, feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat (severe)
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

*Not all people will experience all symptoms.

  • Antiviral drugs may be helpful for some people
  • Treatments for individual symptoms
  • Fluids
  • Rest

Influenza is a viral infection – it should not treated by use of antibiotics. However, some secondary infections/complications caused by influenza may benefit from antibiotics. Please ask your provider.

  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Ear infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Worsening chronic medical conditions (for example: congestive heart failure, asthma, and/or diabetes)
  • Age: under 5 or older than 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with chronic medical conditions including congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes