Influenza (flu) facts
The flu is a viral illness that usually begins with the sudden onset of fever and is often associated with chills, headache, muscle pain, and cough. The flu virus spreads by droplets released from an infected person by sneezing, coughing, and even talking. An infected person can begin to spread the flu to others 24 hours before they start to feel sick themselves. On average, a person will develop symptoms of the flu within 2 days of being exposed to an infected person (range 1-4 days). According to the CDC, an average of 200,000 persons in the U.S. are hospitalized with flu yearly. Last flu season, 110 children died of flu-associated illnesses. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. Flu vaccine is approved for those ≥ 6 months of age. Infants < 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect infants too young to receive flu vaccine is for those around them to be vaccinated (known as the “cocooning effect”).