Flu – the Key Facts

Flu - the Key Facts

Flu is caused by an influenza virus. Here are some key facts about it. Most people get the flu when they breathe in tiny airborne droplets from the coughs or sneezes of someone who has the flu. You can also catch the flu if you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Sometimes, you can get a virus that makes you throw up or have diarrhea. Some people call this the “stomach flu.” This is a misleading name because this virus is not the actual flu that mostly affects your nose, throat, and lungs.

Is It Flu? The symptoms

You have sudden fever, aches, chills, tiredness, sudden onset, coughing, sneezing and sore throat

Know the flu F.A.C.T.S.






Fever – (100°F or greater)

Aches — While it is normal to feel body aches from physical overexertion, body aches that are sudden and unexplained can be a sign of the flu.

Chills — Chills and shivering are normal as your body reacts to a cold environment. Chills unrelated to environment can be a sign of the flu.

Tiredness — It is normal to feel tired at the end of a long day or when you don’t get adequate sleep, but unexplained tiredness can be a sign of the flu.

Sneezing — A symptom of a cold and the flu, sneezing spreads viruses through droplets in the air. Try to sneeze into a tissue and then wash your hands to reduce the spread of the viruses.

Prescription flu medicines can shorten the duration of the flu if taken within 48 hours of first symptoms.

Flu prevention

  • Wash your hands to prevent flu

The flu virus can spread by direct contact, such as sharing drinks, or through indirect contact, such as when an infected co-worker sneezes or touches an object like the lunchroom microwave door. The influenza virus can live for 2 to 8 hours on surfaces. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue

When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (not your hands), and be sure to throw the tissue away immediately. Hand sanitizer can also help. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to keep germs away.

  • Get your flu shot

Good preventive health habits, an annual vaccine, and prescription flu medicines can help keep you and your family flu-free all year-long!

DISCLAIMER: The information presented here does not replace the advice of your healthcare team. Please talk with your healthcare team about your medical condition and treatment.