The best way to stay healthy is to vaccinate yourself against the flu virus. This helps your body to recognize influenza and fight it. Because the virus changes from year to year, you need a new vaccine before the start of each flu season in the fall. The vaccine cannot give you the flu. It can keep you from getting the illness or helps keep your symptoms mild, if you do come down with it.
Flu is different from a cold. As it usually comes on suddenly. People who are sick with the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
Flu and cold symptoms may both include:
a runny or blocked nose
a sore throat
To help you tell them apart, below are some symptoms of flu that are different from a heavy cold:
cold sweats and shivers
aching joints and limbs
fatigue, feeling exhausted
If you get sick, you can keep other people from getting the flu by staying away from them. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue handy, the inside crook of your elbow is a great place to cough or sneeze, so you don’t get germs on your hands.
Adults are contagious 1–2 days before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill. This means that you can spread the influenza virus before you even know you are infected.
It is best to see your doctor as soon as the flu signs and symtoms appear. Your doctor can give you antiviral drugs. This medicine can make your symptoms less severe or shorten the days you are sick.