It's Flu Season!

Learn more about the flu, including a flu vaccine finder at TexasFlu.org.

Make sure to increase hand washing, use good cough etiquette, wipe down surfaces frequently with germicidal wipes.

The flu is caused by influenza viruses, which target respiratory areas such as the nose, throat, and lungs. This virus can cause severe illness and even life-threatening complications. In the United States, an estimated 5 to 15 percent of the population is affected by the virus each year. The flu can live on surfaces between two to eight hours.

There is still time to get your flu shot. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized. Flu activity usually peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100 degree F or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

General tips on preventing flu-like illness

Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose.You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. Here are some other tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones from the flu and other viruses:

  1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  4. Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Remember to wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand rubs after food handling, using the bathroom, and touching your pets.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
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