Flu season typically begins is November and extends through March. January and February are often the peak months. 

Seasonal (Common) Flu

Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Although many people may have partial immunity, a yearly flu vaccine is recommended.

Avian Flu

Avian (or Bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available.

Pandemic Flu

Pandemic flu is a virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person.

Currently, there is the COVID-19 coronavirus. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available. Take strict precautions to protect yourself. For more information, please visit the Coronavirus Information site.

  • Make good hygiene a habit.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, for 30 seconds
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the trash
  • Cough or sneeze in your upper sleeve if you have no tissue
  • Clean hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay at home if you are sick.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. Also, include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, and beans.
  • Drink lots of water and go easy on salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat.
  • Exercise on a regular basis and get plenty of rest.

Influenza usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (may be extreme)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults)

Having these symptoms does not always mean that you have the flu. Many different illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms.

In some people, the flu can cause serious complications, including bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes; adults may develop sinus problems and ear infections.

The flu usually spreads from person to person in respiratory droplets when people who are infected sneeze. People occasionally may become infected by touching something with influenza virus then touching their mouths, nose, or eyes.

Healthy adults may be able to infect others 1 day before getting symptoms and up to 5 days after becoming sick. Therefore, it is possible to give someone the flu before you know you are sick.

The “flu shot” --- an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle in the arm. It is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people with chronic medical conditions.

The nasal spray flu vaccine—a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses. It is approved for people 2 years to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

  • Stay home
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink a lot of fluids
  • Avoid using alcohol and tobacco
  • Take medications such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol). Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms.
  • If you are concerned, have a chronic illness, 65 or older or pregnant—contact your provider.

Downloads

Cover your Cough! poster (PDF, 57KB)

Sources

Center for Disease Control (CDC) - Influenza