Influenza (Seasonal Flu) - Topic Overview
Most people can treat flu
symptoms at home. Home treatment includes resting, drinking plenty of fluids,
and taking medicine to lower your fever. But some people need to go to the hospital for treatment. They may have severe symptoms or get pneumonia. Or the flu infection may make an existing health problem worse.
If you think you have the
flu, your doctor may be able to give you medicine that can make the symptoms
milder. It's best to start taking it within 2 days of your first
You can help prevent the
flu by getting the flu vaccine every year. It's best to get the vaccine as soon as it's available. It comes as a shot or in a spray that you breathe in through your nose.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months old and older should get a flu vaccine. The
vaccine is especially important for people who are at higher risk of problems
from the flu, including:
- Young children.
- Adults ages 50 and older.
- Adults and children who
have long-term health problems or an
impaired immune system.
- Women who will be
pregnant during the flu season.
The flu vaccine is also important for health care
workers and anyone who lives or works with a person who is at higher risk of
problems from the flu.
The vaccine usually prevents most cases of
the flu. But even if you do get the flu after you've had the vaccine, your
symptoms will be milder and you'll have less chance of problems from the flu.
You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.