Every fall a nasty virus starts to spread. Influenza, more commonly called the flu, is a virus that attacks a person’s respiratory system (their lungs). The flu bug can easily be passed from one person to another through coughing, sneezing, and sharing food or drinks. You can also get the flu from touching objects that have the flu virus on them, and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.

Some signs that you may have the flu are:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Feeling super tired
  • Dry cough
  • Might seem like you have cold (but you feel way worse, and have the above signs too)

The flu can be serious for some people, and can lead to pneumonia and possibly having to stay in the hospital.  Children and elders, and those with certain illnesses are more at risk for a serious case of the flu. For example, if someone has asthma, diabetes, or cystic fibrosis, the flu could be really bad for them. For some people, the flu just makes them feel really icky, but it goes away after a few days. People can actually have the flu bug on them, but never get sick. They can pass the flu onto other people and never know it!

The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to be immunized each fall. This means a medicine called a vaccine would given to you in the upper arm with a needle. Sure, no one loves to get a needle, but the needle feels way better than being sick with the flu. For more information on the flu vaccine, click here: Get the shot, not the flu! (No vaccine is guaranteed to work 100%, but it’s your best shot. Get it, shot? Ha!)

The other way you can protect yourself and others from the flu is by good hygiene. This means washing your hands well with soap and water, often. If you have to sneeze or cough, don’t use your hands; cough or sneeze in your arm, at the elbow.