Arlington residents may have already noticed this winter that the community is seeing a lot of influenza, also called “the flu.” Flu is a contagious illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu spreads mainly from person to person by droplets from the nose or throat that are released when someone with the flu coughs or sneezes. Sometimes, people may become infected by touching something with flu virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose before washing their hands.
Anyone can get the flu, but it can be far more serious in young children, older people, pregnant women, and in people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems. The most common symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffed nose, body aches, headache, and extreme fatigue.
There are a number of things everyone can do to lower the chances of getting the flu or passing it on to anyone else:
- Get a flu shot! It is not too late to get the vaccine – and nearly everyone over 6 months of age can get it. Find a nearby vaccine provider.
- Practice good hygiene – Wash your hands well and often.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home from work or school when you have flu or symptoms of the flu, except to see a health care provider. If you are sick with the flu contact your health care provider early during your illness because early treatment can help shorten the time you experiences symptoms and lessen the severity of symptoms