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The Flu: What You Need To Know

Essential information about the flu

What is the Flu?

The Flu
is a very contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The severity of flu cases ranges from mild to severe, occasionally even life-threatening.

10 to 20 percent of U.S. residents "catch" the flu each year, with an average of over 100,000 people hospitalized for flu-related complications.

Flu symptoms

Symptoms of the flu include:

  • high fever
  • headache 
  • extreme fatigue 
  • sore throat 
  • dry cough 
  • stuffy nose 
  • runny nose 
  • muscle aches 
  • nausea 
  • diarrhea 
  • vomiting 
How is the flu spread?

The flu is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets contained in coughs and sneezes (droplet spread). These droplets from a cough or sneeze are propelled up to three feet through the air and can be deposited on the mouth or nose of a nearby person.

Flu viruses can also be spread when you the touch respiratory droplets from another person that are on an object (such as a doorknob) and then touch your mouth or nose before you have a chance to wash your hands.

How to avoid catching the flu:
  • Avoid close contact with others who have the flu.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. 

How to avoid spreading the flu:
  • Don't get close to other people.
  • Stay home from work or school. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth 
    and nose with a tissue.


The flu is a very contagious, unpleasant, and dangerous illness. The suggestions above can help you avoid catching the flu or spreading it to others.

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