Preventing Seasonal Influenza

About Seasonal Influenza

Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that affects mainly the nose, throat, chest and lungs. The flu may cause mild to severe illness, and may even lead to death. In the very young, the elderly, and those with other serious medical conditions, infection can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia. 

Symptoms of Influenza

Symptoms of influenza include:

  • Fever (typically ≥100° F)
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry 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 in adults.
  • Infectious Period
  • People may be able to infect each other one day before symptoms occur and up to 10 days after being sick.

The Spread of Influenza

Flu viruses mainly spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick. 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.

How can you prevent the flu?

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year. There are two types of vaccines:

The “flu” shot- an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for use in people six months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

The nasal-spray flu vaccine- a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine” or FluMist ®). LAIV is approved for use in healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses.

If you get the flu:

  • Stay home from work or school
  • Make sure and get plenty of rest and water
  • Over-the-counter medications may relieve symptoms
  • Consult your doctor.

For additional information, please refer to the following websites:

CDC Seasonal Flu


Information Services

Phone: 712.749.1238
Fax: 712.749.1467

Health Services in located in Siebens Fieldhouse L-25

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.