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[Summary]Flu symptoms: Everything you need to know Flu season can span from October to May, and usually peaks between December and February. There is some variety in presentations of flu. This depends on the age of a person and their general state of health.

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Flu symptoms: Everything you need to know

Flu season can span from October to May, and usually peaks between December and February.

There is some variety in presentations of flu. This depends on the age of a person and their general state of health. Many symptoms are commonly observed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that between 9.2 million and 35.6 million cases of flu have been reported to medical professionals in the United States (U.S.) every year since 2010.

Influenza (Flu)

What Is the Flu Vaccine?

Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. It's usually offered between September and mid-November, but may be given at other times of the year.

The vaccine helps protect people from the flu viruses that experts think will be most common in the upcoming flu season. While the vaccine doesn't completely guarantee against getting sick, someone who's been vaccinated and still gets the flu will have fewer and milder symptoms.

The Flu: What To Do If You Get Sick | Seasonal Influenza (Flu) | CDC

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How do I know if I have the flu?

What should I do if I get sick?

Do I need to go the emergency room if I am only a little sick?

What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?

Are there medicines to treat the flu?

How long should I stay home if I?m sick?

What should I do while I?m sick?

How do I know if I have the flu?

Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Influenza | Seasonal Influenza (Flu) | CDC

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Signs and Symptoms

Hospitalizations and Deaths from Influenza

Signs and Symptoms

Influenza viruses are spread from person to person primarily through large-particle respiratory droplet transmission (e.g., when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a susceptible person). Transmission via large-particle droplets requires close contact between source and recipient persons, because droplets do not remain suspended in the air and generally travel only a short distance (less than or equal to 1 meter) through the air. Contact with respiratory-droplet contaminated surfaces is another possible source of transmission. Airborne transmission (via small-particle residue [less than or equal to 5µm] of evaporated droplets that might remain suspended in the air for long periods of time) also is thought to be possible, although data supporting airborne transmission are limited. The typical incubation period for influenza is 1—4 days (average: 2 days). Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines | Seasonal Influenza (Flu) | CDC

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Misconceptions: Flu Vaccines

Misconceptions: Flu Vaccine Effectiveness

Misconceptions: Timing of Seasonal Influenza Vaccination

Misconceptions: Physician Consent for Vaccination

Misconceptions: Stomach Flu

Misconceptions about Flu Vaccines

Can a flu shot give you the flu?

No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur.

CDC H1N1 Flu | H1N1 Flu and You

Content on this page was developed during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic and has not been updated.

The H1N1 virus that caused that pandemic is now a regular human flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.

The English language content on this website is being archived for historic and reference purposes only.

How Long Does the Flu Last and What Is It, Exactly?

Department of Public Health

Have questions about things like where to go for vaccinations or other health care services?

Call 2-1-1.

Flu Season Information | Find Flu Trends & Vaccine Info

What is the flu?

The flu, more scientifically known as influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory infection. The influenza virus usually enters the body through membranes in the mouth, nose, or eyes.

When a person with the flu coughs or sneezes, the virus then becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. You can also get the flu if you’ve touched a contaminated surface and then touch your nose or mouth.

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