Though the flu is around all year, it is most common during fall and winter. Peak flu season takes place between December and February, but spikes in cases start as early as October. When someone gets the flu it usually resolves on its own, but sometimes complications can develop and it can be deadly.
WHAT IS THE FLU?
Also known as influenza, the flu is a contagious viral infection that attacks your respiratory system- your nose, throat and lungs. Unlike a common cold, the flu symptoms come on pretty suddenly.
COMMON FLU SYMPTOMS:
- Fever or feverish chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue- tiredness
- Some people experience vomiting and diarrhea- more commonly in children than adults
HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
The flu is spread through tiny droplets in the air made when sick people cough, sneeze, or talk. Someone is then exposed to the virus when they breathe in the infected droplets, or when they land in the mouth, nose or eyes. You can also get it if you touch a surface that has the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
WHEN ARE YOU MOST CONTAGIOUS?
You can actually have the flu and spread it before you even realize you are sick. The time from when a person is exposed and infected with the flu to when symptoms begin is about 2 days. You are most contagious 3-4 days after the illness begins. Healthy adults can infect others beginning one day BEFORE symptoms start and up to 5-7 days AFTER becoming sick.
Some people, particularly young children and those with a weak immune system might be able to infect others for an even longer period of time.
CONCLUSION: The flu spreads fast, but you can always work hard to prevent it from affecting yourself and your loved ones. Follow our entire flu series to learn tips to stay safe!