Flu Perparedness

For most of us, the flu is a miserable way to spend a few days.

For others, it can be a life-threatening condition, including:
  • People 65 years and older
  • People of any age with chronic medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart conditions)
  • Pregnant women
  • Children under 5 years old
  • People with suppressed immune symptoms
Keep in mind:
  • Vulnerable people can experience complications from flu, including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.
  • The flu can make chronic health problems, such as asthma and chronic congestive heart failure, worse.

When is the flu an emergency?

Get medical help when you or someone else:
  • Has difficulty breathing or chest pain.
  • Has purple or blue discoloration of the lips.
  • Is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down.
  • Shows signs of dehydration (dizzy when standing, unable to urinate, or for infants, crying without shedding tears).
  • Has seizures, is less responsive than normal or becomes confused.
  • Has flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough.
For kids under 12, get medical help:
  • When a child less than 12 weeks old has a fever of 100.3° or higher.
  • When a child 3–6 months old has a fever of 102.2° or higher.
  • When a child is dehydrated (no tears, making very little urine, drinking very few liquids).
  • When a child has labored breathing (such as grunting) with each breath, wheezing, or flaring or widening nostrils with each breath.
  • When a child is extremely irritable, seems very lethargic or is very difficult to wake up.

Flu Prevention

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Use a tissue or your upper sleeve—not your hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose and sneezing, and before you eat.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. The flu virus can enter your body when you touch something contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick, to stop the spread of the virus.
  • Avoid close contact. Keep your distance from sick people.
  • Stay healthy. Get enough sleep, exercise, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Flu Symptoms

  • Fever (usually above 100°)
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomach problems (more common in children than adults): nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

More information: CDC Influenza (Flu)