It’s Cold and Flu Season in Virginia!

Symptoms of flu include:

  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough (colds generally have a more “productive” cough)
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away.

Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Stay away from sick people and stay home if sick.

Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill. Most studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being deposited on a surface. Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so standard cleaning and disinfecting practices are sufficient to remove or kill them.

CDC recommends that sick children stay home for at least 24 hours after his or her fever is gone. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.