Those who are sick with flu may show a variety of symptoms that include fever, cough, sore throat chills, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, eye pain, runny nose, and chest pain. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain may be present, more often in children than adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also lists a number of emergency warning signs of flu that indicate immediate medical attention.
Though it is mild for most people, flu can lead to complications, some of which are severe and life-threatening. There are certain groups of people who are at higher risk of developing these complications.
There are other respiratory illnesses that can look similar to flu. These include the common cold (caused by a variety of viruses), strep throat, and infections by respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus. What is known as "stomach flu" is caused by different viruses that are not related to influenza viruses.
The CDC urges you to "Take 3" Actions to fight the flu:
The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. A vaccination is needed annually for two reasons: 1) influenza viruses mutate as they spread, which can make them unrecognizable to the immune system; and 2) protection provided by flu vaccination declines over time.
See our Data and Surveillance page for more information on current flu activity in West Virginia. You can also see the CDC's flu activity map to see how widespread flu is in all U.S. states and territories. You can even stay up to date on international activity by checking out the World Health Organization's reports!