The flu is a respiratory illness that is caused by influenza viruses. These viruses infect the throat, nose and lungs and are highly contagious. Some symptoms of flu are fever, chills, cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, muscle aches, body aches, fatigue and headache. Some people may have all of these symptoms or just some of these symptoms.
Transmission of the flu virus can happen when a person coughs or sneezes and droplets are inhaled by another. The flu virus can also be spread by touching a surface that has infected droplets on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The human flu virus can live for two to eight hours on a surface.
Your best defense against the flu is to get a flu vaccination.
- What are the benefits of flu vaccination?
- When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?
- CDC Influenza Vaccine Information
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Most seasonal flu activity typically occurs between October and May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February but often extends into April and even May.
Monongalia County Health Department recommends getting a flu vaccine in October, and definitely at least two weeks, if not more, before Thanksgiving, as this is when people begin to gather and exchange germs.
Children ages 6 months through 8 years who need two doses of vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least four weeks apart.
Don't let the flu get you. Follow these simple steps.
- Get an annual flu vaccine.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay HOME from work or school if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing/ sneezing. Teach children the proper way to cover their mouth when they sneeze or cough by coughing/sneezing into your elbow.
- Soap and water are a good defense against flu and other illnesses. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds for best results. Visit the CDC handwashing page to find out more.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Eat a healthy diet, rest, be physically active, drink plenty of fluids, stop smoking or better yet, don’t start.
Where can I get a flu vaccine?
Flu vaccines are offered by many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even by some schools.
Monongalia County Health Department provides influenza vaccines for children 6 months old and up and adults. We also offer adults 65 and older the new high-dose vaccine that has been specifically formulated for seniors. To schedule an appointment for a flu vaccine, call 304-598-5119 or book online.
MCHD participates in the Vaccines For Children (VFC) Program. VFC provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.
Please visit our Immunizations page for more information about the wide range of vaccines available at the health department.