Flu and Pneumonia
Key Facts About the Flu
What is the Flu (influenza)?
The flu is a serious and contagious respiratory illness
caused by the influenza viruses.
What are the Symptoms of Flu?
Symptoms of flu may include:
- Fever or feeling feverish
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Occasionally vomiting and diarrhea
How is the flu spread?
The flu is spread by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. Droplets can travel as far as six feet away. It can also spread by people touching surfaces that have flu virus on it and touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Who is at highest risk of flu complications?
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People 50 years of age and older
- Pregnant women
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
How Can I Prevent the Flu?
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. Everyone over 6 months of age is recommended to get a flu vaccine each year. The flu vaccine is available in the traditional shot, and in nasal spray form (FluMist®). Flu shots are available for persons over 6 months of age. The flu nasal spray (FluMist®) is available for healthy persons 2 through 49 years of age. People should get vaccinated every year because immunity to influenza viruses decline over time and circulating strains often change from year to year.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, take extra hygiene precautions to protect yourself and others from the flu:
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or with your arm when you sneeze or cough
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- If you do get sick with the flu, say home and away from others for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone
Call your medical provider as soon as you feel ill, especially if you have medical conditions, so that you may be prescribed antiviral medications.
When should I get a Flu Vaccine?
You should get your flu shot as soon as it becomes available each year, however, there is benefit to getting the vaccine later as long as the flu is still circulating.
Flu Data for the 2014-2015 Flu Season:
Click here for detailed data and charts
For more information about seasonal flu, please visit:
New Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations
The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccine (also called the pneumonia shot) for all adults over 65, and for adults 18 – 64 with long term health problems, conditions or medications that lower the body’s resistance to infection, and for those who smoke or have asthma.
New this year, adults age 65 and older should now receive a series of two different types of pneumococcal vaccine. They should routinely receive PCV13 (new vaccine) and PPSV23 (old “pneumonia shot”) at least 12 months apart.