Is it the flu, or something else?
Flu season in the United States traditionally runs from October through March.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is available to anyone 6 months and older and is highly recommended for those over 65 or people who have a medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, or chronic lung disease.
People who live in close quarters with roommates, share bathrooms, and participate in social activities are more prone to catching the flu.
The more people who get a flu shot, the fewer the number of people who will get sick and pass the illness to their families and neighbors.
There are other ways to prevent the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands often! This is one of the easiest ways to stop the spread of germs. Use soap and warm water and wash for at least 20 seconds.
- Use a hand sanitizer if you can’t wash with soap and water.
- Stop the spread of germs produced by sneezing or coughing by using a tissue to cover your nose and mouth.
- If you don’t have a tissue, try to sneeze into your arm, not your hand.
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant.
- Stay home when you are sick.
How can I tell if I have a cold or the flu?
Click to download a printable version of the chart.
Click to read more about the flu on the CDC’s Influenza-Related Questions & Answers by Topic page.